Vienna, Austria

The focus groups under Work Package 2 'Mapping challenges, needs, innovative solutions required in the process of prevention and de-radicalization' were carried-out with participation of first-line practitioners, including academia representatives, educators, youth workers, social services and specialist professionals working with youth and child as psychologists, minor’s services and LEAs. The group discussions were designed around three different dimensions: religious-inspired extremism; right-wing extremism with a specific focus on Islamophobia, hate and anti-immigrant crimes; and left-wing extremism with a special focus on anarchist, animal rights, environmentalist and separatist ideologies.

The ARMOUR Focus Group in Austria was held on 4 July 2019 and was virtually hosted by our partner SYNYO GmbH. Only three practitioners took part (six professionals had been recruited, but due to technical or personal reasons three of them failed to participate).

The focus group followed a scenario of a semi-structured discussion. It focused on the topic of radicalization and understanding of violent extremism, in order to identify and communicate cases of radicalization towards designing a specific program for effective prevention and intervention with young people and children. You can find more information on the focus group methodology here.

Several conclusions stood out: if a young person does not have any space for discussion and for exchange, and hasn’t yet developed a strong personality, the person is more open for extreme ideologies; it is more likely that a young person joins an extremist group, if the person always had strong ties to a particular ideology and if the ideology was normal in the family setting; the sensibilization is crucial, directly addressing the narratives and sometimes you need provocation; etc. Participants called for more funding for collaborative projects and the development of a practitioners’ network for exchanging practices.