Radicalisation, particularly that leading to violent extremism and acts of violence and terrorism, has been a growing concern of States, societies and communities. It is a dynamic phenomenon, and although a single and often a solitary route, it is also a group process. Radicalisation happens online, but also offline, in schools and in neighbourhoods.
By virtue of a series of risk factors set out in several theoretical approaches to the phenomenon of radicalisation leading to violent extremism, such as identity crisis, the seek for belonging or the manifest primacy of socialising online, amongst others, youngsters have been identified as the most vulnerable part of societies to this processes.
Counter-narratives and alternative positive narratives, in parallel with awareness raising activities to vulnerable groups to radicalisation, have been proven to be of great support in preventing and combatting online radicalisation: the motto that gave rise to project Counter@ct: preventing and combatting online radicalisation.
Within Project Counter@ct, with the crucial input of both law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but also those who closely work with the communities, particularly with vulnerable groups to online radicalisation, and with the expertise of an impact assessment evaluator and an online marketing agency, the alternative narrative #thisismystory was developed.
#thisismystory relies on the concept of storytelling of positive integration real life stories of migrants and refugees currently living in Portuguese communities. The campaign was conceived to target both the peers of the persons giving their voice to the campaign, in their own mother-tongue, but also to reach as many people within the community and in the Portuguese society. The call to action – #learmoreaboutmystory - is the invitation that we left at the end of each video! Lear more about the campaign at #thisismystory website!
Further to the campaign, and for all of those who, in the future, wish to develop an online alternative narrative campaign, a very Practical Guide for Preventing and Combating Online Radicalisation. The Practical Guide sheds lights on each and every step that needs to be carefully thought through before developing an alternative narrative campaign. If you are curious to learn more about radicalisation and the support services available at APAV, you may also consult our website Preventing and Combating Radicalisation.
The Counter@ct project was developed in collaboration between APAV and the Judiciary Policy, Service of Security Information, Logframe – Training and Consulting, Digital Xperience and European partners, namely Victim Support Europe and Fundación Fernando Buesa Blanco (Basque Country), co-funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund Police - Civil Society Empowerment Programme.
To mark the Worldwide Day Against Bullying, on the 20th October, the Portuguese Association of Victim Suport (APAV) presents a new awareness campaign regarding online violence. The campaign's motto is "Online violence is real '' and it was creatively developed by Filipe Meunier, in partnership with APAV.
This brand new campaign, which is released during the European Month of Cybersecurity, was set with the goal to warn about the growth of the cyber criminality numbers, particularly the cyberbullying, hate speech and the non consensual share of images situations; types of crimes that have expanded during the pandemic, considering the amount of time that children and the younger generations spent online. Although there isn't any absolute data regarding these phenomenons, especially when it comes to cyberbullying, we can safely say that these situations have either kept steady or tend to rise.
In 2020, APAV accounted for 27 bullying and cyberbullying reports, however, this number doesn't match with the national reality — the case numbers should be much higher due to the knowledge that many situations are non-reported. If on one hand the cyber bullying phenomenon wasn't that much reported, on the other hand the hate speech and the non consensual share of images cases have significantly grown: the Safe Internet Line (LIS) received 216 reports about online hate speech in 2020 ( in 2019 they had only received 24); and 260 reports about the non-consensual share of private images (threats on sharing photos,privacy intrusion, extorsion, etc.) — in 2019, there had only been 22.
• Report Illegal Content
• Ask For Clarification
APAV was present in the Security, Democracy and Cities Conference, promoted by the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS) in Nice, between 20 and 22th October.
EFUS is an European network and organization devoted to the promotion of the cooperation, support and debate about local and regional crime and urban security prevention issues. Founded in 1987, it gathers 250 cities and regions of 15 countries. The conference counted with the following participants: the ellected locals, such as autarchies presidentes, autarchies public employees, policial forces, professionals of the social sector, academics and representatives of the private sector and civil society.
João Lázaro, APAV’s President, was the moderator of the panel regarding the session "The challenge of promoting safe and sustainable urban tourism", that focused on the challenges on sustained tourism in cities, considering the desired comeback of tourism at the same time which the security of the permanent residents is assured, as well as the need of security and respect for the human rights, namely the crime victims.
The City Hall of Matosinhos and the Municipal Police of Lisbon also shared their experience.
For more information: efus.eu/efusconference2021
On 19 and 20 October a workshop on victim support lines and distance support was held in Brussels.
This initiative was promoted by Victim Support Europe, in the context of the VSE Centres of Excellence.
With members from different countries and with distinct experiences, the goal of these events is to share learnings and challenges that differ from place to place.
The workshop was focused on in-depth discussion on:
- The selection and training of volunteers for online counselling and the helpline
- Community Resiliency Model training module for victim support organisations
- TRiM method based on cognitive behavioural therapy
- Promotion of #116006Helpline and online support
- Funding of helpline and online support
- How other 116 helpline are run?
- Standards for helpline
"Transforming victim support: from dream to reality" is the motto of the Victim Support Europe Annual Conference 2021, which takes place on the 19th and 20th of May. This online event aims to celebrate the work on victim support in several countries of the European Union over the past three decades.
This year's edition brings together the main international actors in the work with victims of crimes and will address topics such as the evolution of victim support movements, the development of support services, specialized services or innovative therapies and methods for the recovery of victims. .
Victim Support Europe is an organization that brings together the various victim support services and organizations in Europe and is currently chaired by also APAV's president, João Lázaro.