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Prevention

When discussing the Danish approach to the prevention of extremism and radicalisation, we often refer to "the Danish model".

The Danish model is characterised by four elements in particular:

  • In terms of organisation, the initiative is based on a broad, cross-sectoral cooperation involving local, regional and national authorities

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  • Preventive work is handled and justified based on rationales relating to security, social and other considerations, which again supports the cross-sectoral cooperation. The key reasons for implementing preventive measures can thus be found in the Penal Code (the risk of terrorism and other illegal acts), social legislation (ensuring the well-being, development and independence of citizens) and legislation relating to education (objectives relating to good learning environments, students' well-being and promotion of a future society that enjoys freedom and democracy)
  • Radicalisation is regarded as risk behaviour on a par with other forms of behaviour that may result in crimes being committed. The prevention effort frequently uses the same tools and methods as those used to prevent other types of risk behaviour, tools that are familiar to anyone working with crime prevention and social work
  • Prevention of extremism and radicalisation is based on a holistic approach which involves working with initiatives of various kinds, depending on the target group
  • Intervention measures – individuals in extremist environments. The top part of the prevention triangle includes individuals who are part of an extremist environment and have committed crimes, or who are deemed to be at risk of doing so imminently. The purpose of initiatives aimed at this target group is to prevent (further) crimes and support their liberation from extremist environments. Intervention measures aimed at individuals in extremist environments must be viewed in the context of criminal law, whereby the courts deal with criminal acts. Intervention measures are mainly undertaken by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, the police and the Danish Prison and Probation Service, along with social work and mentoring efforts implemented by municipalities.
  • Anticipatory measures – individuals at risk of radicalisation. The middle part of the triangle includes individuals and groups who are exhibiting risk behaviour or signs of radicalisation. The purpose of initiatives at this level is to curb risk behaviour before it becomes more serious and to promote positive development. Anticipatory measures that specifically address challenges relating to extremism and radicalisation must be viewed in the context of other social and crime prevention efforts such as social housing strategies in vulnerable areas. For instance, anticipatory measures are addressed by municipal social initiatives and mentoring efforts and as part of the relational work undertaken by professionals at institutions, schools, the SSP, PSP and KSP cooperation and street-level efforts in vulnerable residential areas.
  • Supporting measures – all children and young people. The part at the bottom essentially involves all citizens but focuses on children and young people in particular. The purpose of initiatives at this level is to promote well-being, development and active civic citizenship, and also to prevent the development of risk behaviour. The broad supporting measures frequently fail to address the challenges of extremism and radicalisation on an explicit level, although they help to provide children and young people with democratic, critical and social skills, giving them resilience and helping to prevent risk behaviour that could lead to radicalisation. Supporting measures are implemented at nurseries, schools and upper secondary schools, as well as within families and among other civil society stakeholders such as associations and clubs.

The holistic approach to the prevention of extremism and radicalisation thus involves a large number of stakeholders in the prevention efforts, which in turn vary depending on the target group. In practice, there may be some degree of overlap between the various prevention levels, and some initiatives involve people from different target groups.

Stakeholders and cooperations

Prevention efforts in Denmark involve a wide range of stakeholders at local, regional and national level.

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Denmark is also part of an international cooperation.

Find out more about international cooperation

The government's action plan

11 October 2016 saw the publication of the former Venstre government's national action plan, Preventing and countering extremism and radicalisation, which includes a total of 41 initiatives across 9 fields.

Find out more about the government's action plan

last modified Jun 08, 2018