Prevention and Intervention Programs
The Canada Centre supports initiatives and programs to prevent and intervene with individuals and groups at-risk of radicalization to violence, as well as with those who want to leave violent extremism behind.
In the context of countering radicalization to violence, early prevention efforts have the objective of preventing the onset of harmful behavior. Some approaches of prevention include:
- raising awareness about radicalization to violence so individuals can distinguish it from holding extreme views and identify when someone is at risk of engaging in violence.
- increasing critical thinking and media literacy skills so people are less vulnerable to manipulation and influence of violent extremists and terrorists in the online space, and
- supporting the development of curricula and training for teachers and frontline workers that encourage open dialogue on challenging issues in educational settings and provide students and groups with prosocial avenues to discuss their grievances.
Find out more about some of the early prevention projects that the Canada Centre supports through the Community Resilience Fund:
- The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD)'s “Extreme Dialogue” project developed an educational framework and resources, including guides, films, and testimonies, to support teachers and group facilitators to equip young people with skills to challenge hate and violent extremism in all its forms.
- Concordia University's “Project Someone” aims to build resilience against hate speech and radicalization to violence amongst elementary, secondary and post-secondary students by helping them to understand and counter hate and violent extremism in public communications and in the digital space.
- Simon Fraser University conducted a research project on international best practices focused on school-based and school-linked interventions that have been proven to promote social inclusion and positive connections to school for students. The aim was to learn how these policies and programs can be adapted to help prevent violent extremism in a Canadian context.
- MediaSmarts' project, My Voice is Louder Than Hate: Pushing Back Against Hate in Online Communities builds on their previous research, which found that while young Canadians feel it is important to speak out against hateful content, many do not because they don't know what to do or are afraid of making situations worse. MediaSmarts will develop classroom material for grade 9 and 10 students in Canada that will challenge common misconceptions about Internet culture, and encourage participants to use their voice to help set the online community's values and influence behavior in a positive and safe way.
Intervention Programs in Canada
Intervention programs provide targeted resources and support designed for individuals or groups at initial stages of radicalization to violence, and/or who have become directly involved in violent extremism. Some intervention approaches include:
- Working with individuals showing signs of vulnerability or risk, in order to build protective factors and divert them from pathways towards violent extremism;
- Providing appropriate tools to family members, peers and front-line practitioners – such as social workers, mental health professionals, or police officers – to intervene with those at risk; and,
- Assisting individuals who want to leave violent extremism behind.
Most interventions are led by health or social service professionals who address the needs and vulnerabilities of the individual. Depending on the complexity of the case, some interventions can involve professionals from various disciplines, such as health, employment, housing, policing, law, mental health, education, and child welfare services.
Below is a list of organizations that offer interventions to counter radicalization to violence. While each program is slightly different, their interventions are very similar.
More details about each program can be found by following the links to their websites. All organizations listed here receive, or have received, support from the Canada Centre.
However, the Canada Centre does not provide advice, manage, or obtain personal information about individual cases.
BC Shift is a civilian-led program that creates and supports community hubs that engaging vulnerable individuals and developing intervention strategies tailored to them. This program is led by Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in BC and delivered in partnership with municipal governments, community-based organizations, and law enforcement.
The ReDirect program focuses on early intervention and prevention with youth before the process of radicalization occurs, or with youth who are in the early stages of radicalization to violence. The program is led by the Calgary Police Service in partnership with the City of Calgary Community & Neighborhood Services, as well as other local health and social service agencies.
The Organization for the Prevention of Violence (OPV) is an evidence-driven NGO engaged in preventing and countering hate-motivated violence in Western Canada. OPV’s intervention program, Evolve, works with individuals involved in hate-motivated violence and/or their families. Services are free, confidential and personalized.
The John Howard Society of Ottawa is a non-profit organization with the goal of addressing crime and its consequences through prevention and intervention services as well as advocacy, research, public education, coalition building and cross-sector partnerships. Through its Project ReSet, the John Howard Society of Ottawa offers a multi-disciplinary service in Eastern Ontario to support individuals and families impacted by hate-motivated violence. Project ReSet can provide interventions aimed at disengagement and reintegration for cases of radicalization to violence.
FOCUS Toronto (Furthering Our Communities by Uniting Services) is a collaboration between the Toronto Police Service, the City of Toronto, and the United Way, who are partnering with local community organizations to reduce crime and improve community resilience. FOCUS operates four situation tables across the Greater Toronto Area, where each “table” enables local agencies with different mandates, such as health, employment, housing, legal aid, mental health, education, and child welfare services, to mobilize and respond when individuals have complex health and social problems, including cases of radicalization to violence.
Yorktown Family Services' Estimated Time of Arrival (E.T.A.) program deploys rapid, mobile mental health and integrated care for people at risk of radicalization to violence in the Greater Toronto Area. This program targets individuals between the ages of 12 to 35 who might be involved with, at risk of, or present early stages of extremist activity. A clinical mental health response will be developed to stabilize mental health risk factors that have the potential to lead to violence, and a social service response will seek to increase social participation and a sense of belonging through employment, volunteer work and education.
Montreal and across Quebec
The Polarization Clinic is a team is made up of social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists, including child psychiatrists, who are experts on social polarization issues. Its goals are to provide specialized supports to individuals and families affected by radicalization, to reduce stigmatization and suffering due to discrimination, and to offer fast confidential support in the community. Based in the local Integrated Health and Social Services Centre, known by its French acronym CIUSSS, the Polarization Clinical Team can leverage the various health and social services throughout the network of CIUSSS across the province, enabling them to provide interventions in most locations across Québec.
The Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRLV; often called the Montreal Centre) can provide information, support, and counselling over the phone to anyone who has concerns about violent extremism. They also provide in-person case management and social reintegration for individuals who have radicalized to violence.
Phone: Montréal 514-687-7141 (or anywhere else across Québec 1-877-687-7141)
For further information, the Canadian Practitioners Network for the Prevention of Radicalization and Extremist Violence (CPN-PREV) has developed an Interactive Map of organizations that offer intervention services in situations involving radicalization leading to violence across Canada.
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