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Identifying vulnerabilities and stigmas of children from parents in violent extremist networks

Five questions about PREPARE, the new research project funded by the EU and led by Joana Cook. Cook is Assistant Professor of Terrorism and Political Violence at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs and lead investigator on PREPARE.

Joana Cook

Can you describe the aim of PREPARE?

Joana Cook: ‘PREPARE stands for ‘Promoting Collaborative Policies of Inclusion Relating to Children of Far Right and Islamist Parents in Western Europe.’ PREPARE aims to identify the unique vulnerabilities and stigmas which children may face when they come from family environments where violent extremism (far right or jihadist) is present. Children in such circumstances may be engaged in some level of multi-actor intervention related to safe-guarding, where professionals may be involved including, but not limited to, police, social workers and health care workers.

PREPARE aims to support these professionals to better understand what these stigmas and vulnerabilities may be, and how they can best engage and support these populations in a way that focuses on the needs of the child. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, we have recruited a diverse project advisory board, an ethics advisor, a gender advisor, and have made gender analysis, human rights, and rule of law considerations inherent in every step of the project.’

How much grant is involved in this project in total?

Cook: ‘This project is budgeted at approximately €815,000. Approximately €240,000 of this is designated for Leiden University.’

When will this project be a success according to your criteria?

Cook: ‘Beyond the successful delivery of all of the project outputs and deliverables, PREPARE will be considered a success to me when we can bring updated and contemporary knowledge from the field, marry it with practical training and a tool which can support practitioners in this work, which ultimately supports the well-being of the child in these unique and complex circumstances, in the most effective manner. Furthermore, I hope we can ultimately help reduce  and address the unique stigmas and vulnerabilities that children in these circumstances may face.’

Read more about the project

Dr. Joana Cook is an Assistant Professor of Terrorism and Political Violence at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University, and a Senior Project Manager at the International Center for Counter-Terrorism. She is the Principal Investigator of PREPARE. PREPARE was funded under the EU ISFP-2020-AG-RAD call (project number 101035861)

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