At the end of June 2019, the ARMOUR Project finalized the first qualitative research activity under the project. A total of seventy-one stakeholders were interviewed across seven European countries: Austria, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, and Spain. The profiles of the respondents were quite diverse: teachers, researchers, social workers, health workers, law enforcement agents, mediators, consultants, jurists, and home providers.

The analysis of the findings shows that:

Radicalisation is understood as a very complex, dynamic and multidimensional process leading individuals to gradually extreme/radical thoughts and emotions that legitimise violence to the commitment of violent acts in the context of intergroup conflict.

Not all practitioners have or know about protocols to identify, prevent and address radicalisation, though the already existing training courses could solve this lack of knowledge.

In order to improve the protocols and their use, a close collaboration with state institutions, as police, as well as the usage of sound existing protocols seem fundamental.

The measures used to reduce radicalisation are like those implemented for other purposes when dealing with conflicts or personal problems. As there are a limited number of specific measures to prevent and deal with radicalisation and violent extremisms, additional measures should be created and validated.

Ideology seems to be a quite significant element in the processes of radicalisation, specifically religious in association to Islam and right-wing ideologies are the most cited. However, respondents often conceive ideologies and beliefs as an excuse to justify and legitimise violence.

Likewise, radicalisation seems more plausible in more polarised societies.

Together with ideology and polarisation, interviewees recognise individual and psychological, social relations and psycho-social, socio-economic and structural factors. The first two types were more prevalent.

We highlight that the 3Ns model (needs, narratives and networks) seems to fit well when grouping the different factors that lead to radicalisation. According to this model, we found a huge prevalence of needs over narratives and networks.

Regarding the use of psychosocial measures, they should be based on research, increasing their attractiveness and creating secure networks.

It is also necessary to develop intervention programmes focused on prevention which address the creation of community networks, understanding and satisfying the specific needs of young people and the development of alternative narratives.

Similarly, practitioners and youth should be trained in communication skills, tolerance, and critical thinking to build resilience. These competences would constitute a solid basis for learning other abilities related to increasing resilience and personal autonomy.

These skills could be integrated within the 3Ns model so that young people resilience is strengthened in order to satisfy their needs, the rejection of violent narratives and their integration in safe and empowered communities.

These findings are based upon the results obtained in the interviews, which may vary due to the specificities across countries or be limited by other aspects like number of respondents or lack in provided information.

Currently, the ARMOUR Consortium is processing the findings from the second qualitative research activities – focus groups, and the results will be published in the last quarter of 2019. Both sets of results will feed into the work under Work package 3 ‘Experimental labs’ and Work Package 4 ‘Integrating best practices and training’.

Stay tuned!