4.5 Initiatives promoting social inclusion and raising awareness
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Young people's rights
Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism
This section describes how top-level authorities responsible for youth social inclusion promote social inclusion.
In the 2021 Finance Bill, the following organisations received public funding of projects promoting social inclusion and intercultural awareness. Young people within the target groups of these initiatives will benefit from the funding:
- Funding of LBGT+ Denmark with DKK 2.5 million in 2021.
- Measure to counter negative social control: DKK 10 million has been allocated annually from 2021 to 2024 for, among other things, training professionals and providing victims of honour-related violence support after staying at a safe house.
- DKK 3 million has been allocated annually in 2021 and 2022 to the association Baba, where minority fathers work with marginalised immigrant or refugee families using a peer-to-peer approach.
- Improved support to LGBTI persons with a minority background (double minorities). DKK 5 million has been allocated annually in the 2021-2024 period to increase security, well-being and equality. The funding supports a new crisis centre for LGBTI persons with a minority background who are victims of honour-based conflict or negative social cohesion with specialised counselling.
- De-stigmatisation of people with mental illness. Funding has been allocated to a national measure that is based in the Danish Health Authority and the existing campaign One of Us. DKK 7.8 million has been allocated to the project.
In the 2022 Finance Bill, the following initiatives and organisations receive state funding for the 2022-2025 period:
The organisation Sabaah receives funding for their measure to support LGBT+ persons in minority environments. The funding targets Sabaah’s counselling measure that supports LGBT+ persons and their relatives. The organisation received DKK 0.7 million in 2022 and DKK 1.2 million in 2023.
The Finance Bill supports the drawing up of a new national LGBT+ action plan. The project receives DKK 6.2 million (about EUR 0.8 million) annually for the 2022-2025 period. Furthermore, the organisation LGBT+ Denmark receives operational funding of DKK 2.5 million (about EUR 0.3 million) annually for the 2022-2024 period.
Danish Youth Council
The Danish historian and theologian Hal Koch (1904-1963) was a safeguard of democracy during and after the Second World War. To Hal Koch, democracy was not just a form of government, it was also people who engage in conversation and citizenship. In this spirit, Hal Koch established the Danish Youth Council. In this spirit, Hal Koch established the Danish Youth Council (DUF). For more information about the Danish Youth Council, see section 5.3, ‘Youth presentation bodies’.
Among DUF’s projects is the programme Dialogue Ambassadors that teaches young people how to express their own opinions and listen to and respect other people’s opinions. The ambassadors advance intercultural awareness and overcome prejudices.
The programme targets young people from Denmark, Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan.
The programme has been externally evaluated by Als Research. Among other things, the report concludes that the programme strengthens the cooperation between groups of young people with different social, political and religious backgrounds and that the programme decreases the level of conflict.
DUF has produced a dialogue handbook in Danish and English
Furthermore, the very objective of non-formal general education (folkeoplysning) is to advance democratic understanding and active citizenship. Via the Act on Non-formal General Adult Education (folkeoplysningsloven, LBK nr 1115 af 31/08/2018), it is possible to receive funding for projects. See section 2.1
Young people's rights
In May 2021, the government and a political majority presented the reform ‘Children First’. The reform allocates DKK 2 billion in the years 2022-2025 and DKK 734 million per year when fully implemented. The reform includes a plan to construct a new Danish Child’s Act concerning the help given to disadvantaged children, where the focus will be on ensuring that children’s voices are heard and that their wishes and needs are given top priority.
The reform also includes measures that are meant to ensure more stability and continuity for children placed in care and to give children and young people who are placed outside the home a better transition to adult life when the measures are implemented. The aim, among others, is to create a strong basis for completing further education and achieving an independent adult life.
The reform also includes projects to improve the protection of children from social control and extremism, including a proposal to establish ‘rights schools’ in some vulnerable housing areas with the purpose of ensuring that children know their rights, regardless of ethnic background.
In January 2023, the government declared that it will present the Child’s Act in Parliament during spring 2023. See more in section 4.8.
Apart from this reform, the following actors and organisations (among others) focus on young people’s rights:
The Danish Authority of Social Services and Housing
The Danish Authority of Social Services and Housing (Socialstyrelsen) and the National Council for Children have published a series of articles about young people’s rights in relation to placements outside the home and foster care. The articles cover four types of placement:
- Foster care
- Residential institution (døgninstitution)/accommodation facilities (opholdssted) for children and young people
- Partly locked residential institution (delvis lukket institution)
- Secure residential institution
For each of the four themes, the article describes in writing and in a short film:
- The right to care and protection
- The right to self-determination and co-determination
- The right to involvement
- The right to privacy
- The right to family life
- The right to personal freedom and freedom to move
- The right to respectful treatment
- The right to file a complaint
Furthermore, for each article a series of realistic questions are asked and replied in writing, for instance: ‘Can my foster parents decide which of my friends I can visit?’ or ‘Are my foster parents allowed to take my mobile phone?’
Lastly, two films describe young people’s rights when they are in foster care or placed at an accommodation facility for children and young persons or an institution.
The Danish Authority of Social Services and Housing also offers other material in order to promote and inform about social rights:
- A brochure about rights and possibilities regarding the treatment of drug abuse. The target group is drug abusers above the age of 18 (The National Board of Social Services).
- A brochure to relatives and people with a permanent and significant disability about the use of force in the treatment and care (The National Board of Social Services, 2015).
The Danish Children’s Houses
The Danish Children’s Houses (De danske Børnehuse): A cross-sectoral initiative to support municipalities in their work with victims of abuse below the age of 18 years. On the website of the Danish Children’s Houses, a section targeting children and young people explains what abuse is, what public authorities do when they are informed about abuse, what the Danish Children’s Houses do, and how the Children’s Phone may help.
The Prosecution Service
The Prosecution Service (Anklagemyndigheden) informs victims of crime of the different procedures that may be enacted during the criminal justice process. Furthermore, the Prosecution Service has produced guides to people who have experienced rape, sexual assault, violence and other personal crime. For instance: ‘Are you under the age of 18 and victim of sexual assault) ’
Courts of Denmark
Courts of Denmark (Danmarks Domstole) has:
- Produced a film targeting young people. The video explains the processes, people, and figures of speech during a trial.
- Produced a guide to people who are going to be a witness in the court.
Children’s Welfare and the Children’s Phone
Children’s Welfare in Denmark (Børns vilkår) is a Danish NGO that improves the living conditions for children in Denmark based on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Children’s Welfare in Denmark operates the Children’s Phone (Børnetelefonen), which is a free counselling service offered via SMS, chat, in writing and by telephone. The phone service offers advice to children and young people and thus contributes to the enhancement of children’s rights. On the website of the Children’s Phone, children and young people can find information about their rights.
Furthermore, Children’s Welfare support children and young people who experience bullying, neglect or conflicts during and after divorce. Children’s Welfare offer free and third-party assistance to children.
In the 2020 agreement of allocation of funds in the reserve for measures within the social, health, and employment sector (SSA-reserven), Children’s Welfare (Børns Vilkår) received funding for two projects:
- Support to children and young people in complaint cases: The organisation Children’s Welfare (Børns Vilkår) has been granted funding for their support of children and young people who have experienced municipal malpractice. The organisation received a total of DKK 2.4 million for the period of 2021-2024, and will receive DKK 0.6 million on an annual basis after 2024.
- Knowledge centre in children’s involvement and socially marginalised children’s lives: There is a lack of knowledge on how children are involved in decisions regarding their own lives, and there is a need for an overview of the knowledge on placed children, marginalised young people and their families. The centre has been established as a cooperation between VIVE – The Danish Center for Social Science Research – and the National Board of Social Services. Children’s Welfare (Børns Vilkår) will be involved in the cooperation. A total of DKK 39.7 million has been allocated to the project for the period of 2021-2024.
The Children’s Portal
The Children’s Portal (Børneportalen). The Children’s Portal is a website run by the National Council for Children under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs. The website targets children and young people in the 10-15-years old age group. The website provides information on children’s rights and how to get support/help.
The National Council for Children
The National Council for Children (Børnerådet) is a state institution under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Affairs. The National Council for Children works to safeguard the rights of children and young people in Denmark. The council focuses on providing information on the conditions for children in Danish society. The council offers advice and consultancy to authorities on issues concerning children’s conditions and takes children’s views on board in its work. The National Council for Children assesses the conditions under which children in Denmark live in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Ombudsman’s Children’s Section
The Ombudsman’s Children’s Section (Ombudsmandens børnekontor) is obliged to ensure that children’s rights are respected and that the administration complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international obligations.
At the Ombudsman’s Children’s Section, children or adults can file a complaint if public authorities do not obey the rules or if children’s rights have been violated.
The Ombudsman’s Children’s Section can choose to raise a case if it is indicated in a complaint case or from media coverage that authorities or private institutions have not complied with legislation or good administrative practice towards children.
The Ombudsman’s Children’s Section can also make supervision visits to public or private
RED Centre Against Honour-Related Conflicts
The RED Centre Against Honour-Related Conflicts (RED center mod æresrelaterede konflikter) provides counselling and other services to ethnic minority youths, their families, and professionals and promotes knowledge about honour-related conflicts nationwide. RED offers, among other things, a hotline, counselling and information about honour-related conflicts and negative social control.
Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism
The Danish approach to the prevention of extremism is based on the notion that extremism has a range of negative consequences that challenges social inclusion of marginalised individuals. Extremism not only causes terrorism, violence, threats, vandalism and other hate-driven crime, it also harms the social well-being and the personal development of individuals.
Consequently, prevention is based on several legislations and rationales, notably:
- The penal code – preventing violence and other crime (the security rationale)
- Social legislation – ensuring individuals’ social well-being (the social rationale)
- Educational legislation – preparing pupils for a society with freedom and democracy (the formative rationale) and safeguarding learning environments
These different legislations and rationales provide the basis for a broad, cross-sectoral cooperation involving local, regional and national authorities.
Concerns about people possibly being involved in extremism are handled locally in a multi-agency crime prevention collaboration called the Info-house.
The Danish Info-houses build on the crime prevention collaborations called SSP (schools, social services and police), PSP (psychiatry, social services and police) and KSP (prison and probation service, social services and police). These local preventive collaborations, in turn, build on the prevention responsibilities of the different actors as set out in legislation.
In 2017, the Danish Centre for Prevention of Extremism was established with the purpose of strengthening the prevention of extremism nationally, locally and online.
The centre supports the practical preventive work done by local interagency collaborations, municipalities, regions, education institutions, housing organisations, associations and other relevant actors.
The core tasks of the centre are:
- Counselling municipalities and other local actors on:
- Developing strategic action plans for prevention and the interdisciplinary organisation to support it.
- How to tackle concrete challenges with an extremist background, for instance suppressive social control and other social harm, agitation and recruitment attempts in schools and residential areas, violence, threats, vandalism and other forms of hate crime.
- Training and upskilling professionals, e.g. on Internet challenges, assessing concerns and handling cases.
- Developing tools and methods, e.g. for mentors and parent coaches to support at-risk persons and families and for area-based prevention in local communities.
- Producing and communicating research-based knowledge, initiating and compiling research, counselling, training, podcasts, publications and maintaining a website.
The centre is also the secretariat for the National Coordination Group on Prevention of Extremism, which includes relevant national actors, such as the Danish National Police, the Agency for Education and Quality, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions.
Furthermore, a network of some 40 researchers is affiliated with the centre, assisting it in its mission to promote research- and knowledge-based prevention efforts.
The centre is part of the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration, which answers to the Ministry of Immigration and Integration.
Action plan against anti-semitism in Denmark
In 2020, the government set up a working group to come up with proposals for how to fight anti-Semitism in Denmark. Based on the working group's proposals, the government has prepared an action plan against anti-semitism in Denmark. The report on hate crimes have risen over the recent years, and the action plan initiates broad initiatives, for instance:
- Mapping the knowledge about and research into anti-Semitism
- Specialized counseling courses on anti-Semitism and prevention
- Appointment of national coordinator to combat anti-Semitism
The following concrete initiatives specifically target children and young people:
Compulsory classes about the Holocaust in primary and upper secondary education A change is made in the primary school's history canon, so that the existing point, the August Uprising and the Jewish Action 1943, is rewritten to also contain the Holocaust. The change will make it compulsory to teach about the Holocaust in the history subject in primary schools. Changes are being made to the curricula for the history subjects in the upper secondary educations, so that teaching about the Holocaust and other genocides is made compulsory.
Education and remembrance of the Holocaust and other genocides shall be promoted The task of promoting educational activities and remembrance of the Holocaust and other genocides continues and is developed. Emphasis is shifted from the preparation of materials to the development of student-engaged teaching activities (e.g., visiting and school services, Auschwitz Day, etc.) and the development of teachers' competencies to teach the subject. The effort is aimed at both primary and upper secondary education.
Teachers must be equipped to avoid exclusion in the school
The work of preventing hate crimes begins in school. The Danish Centre for Prevention of Extremism and the Absalon University College have previously developed an inspiration catalog for school leaders and teachers; "Democratic communities - Prevention of polarization and exclusion in school". This has been done in close collaboration with the National Agency for Education and Quality. The inspiration catalog must now be disseminated by improving the skills of teachers and lecturers in the specific methods that appear in the catalog.
Young-to-young dialogue between denominations must be expanded
The Ministry of Immigration and Integration offers pooled funds to civil society agents with the aim of expanding young-to-young dialogue between Muslims, Christians, humanists, atheists and Jews in schools all over Denmark. This is done on the basis of the experience gained partly from the young-to-young dialogue efforts, which have been implemented over a number of years to prevent honor-related conflicts, extremism, etc., and partly from the project "Your faith - my faith", which offers visits on both free and primary schools of a guest teaching team consisting of a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim for the purpose of promoting mutual understanding and respect.
More information about Jewish life and culture in Denmark
Funds are allocated to the Danish Jewish Museum to plan, set up and carry out, in collaboration with the country's museums and libraries, exhibitions and debate events on Danish-Jewish cultural history. Furthermore, funds are set aside for an initiative aimed at young people, where the country's folk high schools, libraries, museums, information associations, youth and sports organizations, etc. are encouraged to contribute with teaching courses, information initiatives and knowledge dissemination with a focus on raising young Danes' awareness of Danish-Jewish cultural history and life.
Apart from the measures mentioned above, the following projects and organisations were funded by the 2022 Finance Bill:
The Finn Nørgaard association receives operational funding for the 2022-2024 period. The association is fighting radicalisation among marginalised children and young people. The funding amounts to DKK 1.5 million annually in the funding period.
The funding for increased measures against hate crimes and racism can, for instance, cover teaching materials. The funding amounted to DKK 8.2 million in 2022 and will be DKK 8.1 million annually from 2023-2025. A part of the measure is an action plan for fighting racism in society.