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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Denmark

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4. Social Inclusion

4.5 Initiatives promoting social inclusion and raising awareness

On this page
  1. Intercultural awareness
  2. Young people's rights
  3. 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.

 

Intercultural awareness

In the 2021 Finance Bill, the following organisations receive public funding of projects promoting social inclusion and intercultural awareness:

  • Funding of LBGT+ Denmark with DKK 2.5 million in 2021.
  • Measure to counter negative social control: Too many Danes with a minority background experience negative social control. Therefore, DKK 10 million has been allocated annually from 2021-2024 to improve tracking, education of professionals and for instance to establish a better return from crisis centres.
  • Improved measure to target minority fathers. DKK 3 million has been allocated annually in 2021 and 2022 to the association Baba, which contacts marginalised families with an immigrant or refugee background and motivates fathers to actively participate in their children’s lives and in society.
  • Improved measure for 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 the establishment of a new crisis centre with a specialised counselling and guidance measure.

 

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 that engage in conversation and citizenship. In this spirit, Hal Koch established the Danish Youth Council (DUF). (See section 5.3)

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 adult 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 dialogue facilitators

The Danish Centre for Prevention of Extremism can organise visits from young dialogue facilitators where necessary. These dialogue facilitators will be able to visit schools or clubs, for example, to discuss topics that help promote the self-understanding and civic citizenship of local youngsters. This includes topics such as identity, family relations, self-determination, negative social control, participation in society, freedom and responsibilities, obligations and rights, pro- and anti-social communities, equal opportunities, discrimination, friend and enemy images, intolerance, and extremism.

 

Tools and materials to advance parent–teacher cooperation

The Ministry of Immigration and Integration has developed a series of tools and inspiration material. The material targets the cooperation between parents with migrant backgrounds and the teachers and pedagogical personnel in day-care institutions. The tools and inspiration material are available in Danish and four other languages.

There is also a guide to parent–teacher meetings, school–home conversations, home visits, the involvement of parents with migrant backgrounds in the schools. The material is based on an appreciatory approach to cooperation, for instance in relation to the fact that parents with migrant backgrounds may have had a very different experience of schools.

See also section 5.7 on social and civic competences in formal and non-formal learning and 5.8 on promoting the intercultural dialogue among young people. 

 

Young people's rights

In 2016, funds were provided for the National Council of Children to update and relaunch three information leaflets aimed at three specific age groups (8-11 years, 12-17 years, 18 years+) placed in care outside of their home (The National Council of the Children, 2016). The leaflets cover a broad spectrum of rights and provide information about a number of aspects with regard to being placed in care outside the home.

In 2017, the Children’s rights package (Børnerettighedspakke) allocated DKK 24 million over a four-year period to enhance the protection of children’s and young people’s rights and prevent the ill-treatment and abuse of children and young people.

Some of the initiatives relates to young people:

  • Strengthening of the inclusion of children and young people in their own social cases in compliance with the principle of children’s right to be heard. The project is carried out by the National Board of Social Services in collaboration with the NGO Children’s Welfare and is aimed at leaders and case workers in a number of municipalities.
  • Permanent funding is allocated to ensure longer opening hours for the toll-free hotline ‘the Children’s Phone’, which is run by the NGO Children’s Welfare. The service is operated by volunteers with relevant educational backgrounds who offer advice to children and young people on all kinds of problems, including cases of abuse. The service is open every day, all year round, between 11 a.m. and 2 a.m. The caller can remain anonymous if he or she wishes and the calls are not listed on phone bills.
  • An initiative to strengthen children’s and young people's knowledge of their own rights with a particular focus on the right to be protected from abuse. Campaign activities and education sessions will be carried out by the NGO Save the Children Denmark to strengthen the knowledge among school children and young people about their right to be protected from abuse and ways to receive help if they have experienced abuse.

 

The National Board of Social Services

The National Board of Social Services (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 National Board of Social Services

The National Board of Social Services (Socialstyrelsen) offers several forms of material in order to promote and inform about social rights:

  • A counselling hotline for people who sell sex. The hotline counsels about social rights and ways out of prostitution. The board also has a brochure informing about the hotline in Danish, English, and Thai.
  • 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 3 leaflets to people who have experienced rape, sexual assault, violence and other personal crime. For instance:  ‘Advice and guidance for young people under the age of 18 who have been subjected to rape or other sexual assault.’ The booklets have been translated into English, German, Polish, Somali, Udo, Turkish and Arabic

 

Courts of Denmark

Courts of Denmark (Danmarks Domstole) has:

 

The Children’s Telephone

The Children’s Telephone (Børnetelefonen) is a toll-free counselling service via SMS, chat, in writing, and telephone run by the Danish NGO Children’s Welfare (Børns vilkår). 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.

 

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.

 

Children’s Welfare

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 operates the Children’s Phone, where children and young people can receive counselling and support. Furthermore, Children’s Welfare support children and young people who experience bullying, neglect, or conflicts during and after divorce. Children’s Welfare offers free and third-party assistance to children.

 

The Ombudsman’s Children’s Section

The Ombudsman’s Children’s Section (Ombudsmandens børnekontor). The ombudsman has a children’s section. Here, children can file a complaint if public authorities do not obey the rules or if children’s rights have been violated.

 

RED Centre Against Honour-Related Conflicts

RED Centre Against Honour-Related Conflicts (RED center mod æresrelaterede konflikter): The centre provides counselling and other services to ethnic minority youths, their families, and professionals and promotes knowledge about honour-related conflicts nationwide. On the RED website, RED provides information about young people’s rights in relation to honour-related conflicts.

 

Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism

Action plans:

Preventing and countering extremism and radicalisation. National action plan (2016).

Title in Danish: Forebyggelse og bekæmpelse af ekstremisme og radikalisering. National handlingsplan.

Initiatives in the action plan:

  1. A more coordinated and knowledge-based prevention effort:
    • National knowledge and advisory centre for the prevention of extremism and radicalisation
    • Common tool for assessing and referring cases about radicalisation
    • Mapping of efforts and collaborations in the municipalities and Info-houses, where the SSP cooperation is anchored. See section 4.2 “cross-sectoral cooperation”
    • Strengthening of the regional Info-houses
  2. Enhanced effort in police districts and municipalities:
    • Guidance to the police districts on case handling and risk assessment
    • Exit training programme for selected employees in the police districts
    • Guide to the municipalities on available measures in concrete cases
    • Guidelines to the municipalities on collaborating with associations
    • Municipal action plans to prevent extremism and radicalisation
    • Increased focus on specific at-risk groups
    • National corps of mentors and parent coaches
  3. Countering extremist propaganda and preventing online radicalisation:
    • Mapping of extremists’ use of social media
    • More rigorous prosecution of the dissemination of extremist materials
    • Special unit for the removal of new online materials and a new blocking filter
    • National Alliance against Online Radicalisation
    • Digital voices of reason
    • Mobilisation of young voices in the prevention of online radicalisation
    • Educational and information materials on critical thinking
  4. Hard line against foreign fighters:
    • No social benefits to foreign fighters
    • Protecting children and young people against returning foreign fighters and others convicted of terrorism
  5. Targeted intervention in criminal groups:
    • Consistent intervention against extremist utterances
    • Targeted and consistent intervention against ‘regular’ crimes committed in radicalised groups
    • Improved methods for preventing crossover recruitment
  6. Stricter measures against radicalisation in prisons:
    • New radicalisation unit and improved IT platform in the Danish Prison and Probation Service
    • New exit tools and education of staff
    • Intensified screening and monitoring of religious representatives in prisons
    • Study of models for sectioning in prisons
    • Participation in exit programmes as a requirement for release on parole
  7. Systematic effort in day-care facilities, primary schools, and upper secondary school:
    • Increased focus on early prevention in day-care facilities, primary schools (folkeskole), and upper secondary school
    • New methods and enhancement of professionals’ skills
    • Model schools project for the prevention of hate crimes
  8. Involvement of local communities:
    • Strengthened effort in ghetto areas and vulnerable residential areas
    • Improved methods for prevention in residential areas
    • Extension of PET’s outreach effort
  9. Enhanced international effort:
    • Better coordination of national and international efforts
    • Strengthening of Denmark’s contribution to the global coalition combating ISIL
    • Developing on promising initiatives in the Middle East
    • Enhanced international exchange of information on foreign fighters
    • Expansion of current projects in the Horn of Africa
    • Focus on the relevance of Danish development policy for the prevention effort
    • Establishment and extension of projects in vulnerable countries

 

Prevention of Radicalisation and Extremism. Action Plan (2014)

Title in Danish: Forebyggelse af radikalisering og ekstremisme. Regeringens handlingsplan

The action plan identifies four key priorities:

  1. Greater involvement by local authorities so that they recognise signs of radicalisation and take the necessary preventive action – including for people aged 18 or over.
  2. New tools for prevention and exit work that focus on the prevention of online radicalisation and recruitment to armed conflict, as well as exit strategies for individuals in need of support to leave extremist groups.
  3. Enhanced international partnerships, including capacity building in third countries to help them prevent extremism.
  4. Mobilising civil society to involve relevant stakeholders in preventive work, including efforts to minimise the negative influence of ‘radicalisers’.

 

A common and safe future – action plan on the prevention of extremist opinions and radicalisation among young people (2009)

Title in Danish: En fælles og tryg fremtid – handlingsplan om forebyggelse af ekstremistiske holdninger og radikalisering blandt unge

The action plan identifies seven key priorities:

  • Direct contact with young people
  • Inclusion based on rights and duties
  • Dialogue and information
  • Democratic community
  • Measures in socially deprived living areas
  • Special measures in prisonse
  • Knowledge, cooperation, and partnerships

 

Initiatives funded by the rate adjustment pool (satspuljen)

In 2016 and 2014, the rate adjustment pool (satspuljen) allocated funds in order to prevent extremism and radicalisation.

2016 (2017-2020):

The agreement has four focus areas:

  • National efforts
    • Danish Centre for Prevention of Extremism
    • Development and implementation of a screening and assessment tool
  • Municipal efforts
    • Municipal action plans
    • Guidance to municipalities
    • Prevention of crossover and recruiting of younger siblings
    • Continuation of a corps of mentors and parent coaches
  • Prevention of online radicalisation
    • Young-to-young communication to prevent radicalisation. The developing of campaigns, blogs, hashtags, etc. targeting young people below the age of 30.
    • Teaching and information material
  • Prevention of radicalisation in day care, primary and lower secondary educations (folkeskole), as well as general and vocational upper secondary educations

 

2014 (2015-2018):

The agreement has three focus areas:

  • Municipal efforts
    • Strategic municipal cooperation and skills development of municipal specialists
    • Improved municipal measures targeting people above the age of 18
  • New tools for the prevention of radicalisation
    • Methods of prevention and early intervention of radicalisation
    • Prevention of online radicalisation
    • Prevention of trips to armed conflicts in foreign countries
    • Increased exit effort
  • Mobilisation of civil society and local communities (list not complete)
    • National hotline
    • Outreach measures
    • Parent coaching

 

Danish Centre for Prevention of Extremism

The Danish Centre for Prevention of Extremism (Nationalt Center for Forebyggelse af Ekstremisme) was established in 2017 with the purpose of strengthening the prevention of extremism nationally, locally and online.

The centre supports the practical preventive work done by local inter-agency collaborations, municipalities, regions, education institutions, housing organisations, associations and other relevant actors.

The aim of the centre is to promote the use of knowledge-based prevention and help to ensure that rapid and targeted intervention is possible in cases of potential radicalisation. The centre offers advice on the development of action plans for the prevention of extremism, guidance for professionals on potential action if there is any cause for concern, and courses designed to upgrade skills, often in partnership with other stakeholders. Moreover, the centre implements a range of method development projects and offers specific tools such as mentors, parent coaches and young dialogue facilitators.

The core tasks of the centre are:

  • Providing advice to municipalities and other local actors on:
    • Developing strategic action plans for prevention and the interdisciplinary organisation to support it.
    • How to tackle specific challenges related to extremism, 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 websites.
  • The centre is also the secretariat for a national coordination group on the prevention of extremism with relevant national actors, including 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 to 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 is under the Ministry of Immigration and Integration.
  • In 2021, the National Centre for the Prevention of Extremism is in a transition process from its previous status as a temporarily funded initiative to a situation of permanent funding under the Finance Act.
  • In 2021, there will be a particular focus on involving civil society and the education sectors in the prevention of extremism.

On the website of the centre is a section for the general public with information about what to do when somebody shows signs of extremism. The section ‘Are you worried?’ provides information on what signs to look out for, who to contact, and what happens after a tip.

 

Regional Info-Houses

The Info-Houses are supported by Denmark's 12 police districts and provide a framework for the efforts of the crime prevention cooperations’ work to investigate and deal with specific concerns with regard to radicalisation, travel to armed conflict zones, etc. These Info-Houses also provide a forum for knowledge sharing, where challenges and methods relating to prevention of extremism can be discussed.

 

Legislation

Information is available on the most relevant legislation relating to the prevention of extremism and radicalisation.

 

Social legislation

In April 2014, the former minister for children, gender equality, integration and social affairs sent information to the municipalities concerning opportunities for initiatives concerning people travelling to Syria, which fall within the scope of the Act on Social Services (Lov om social service, LBK nr 1287 af 28/08/2020). These opportunities are generally also applicable to initiatives involving citizens who, in a broader sense, are at risk of radicalisation and association with extremist environments.

Furthermore, on 10 December 2015 the Danish parliament (Folketinget) amended the Act in Social Services Services (Lov om social service. (Targeted advisory services for adults at risk of radicalisation, or who wish to leave extremist environments – section 12b).

 

Legislation concerning education

Legislation relating to schools is also relevant to prevention in the broadest sense. The Danish Primary and Secondary Education Act, section 1, para. 3, states that ‘Primary and secondary schools shall prepare students for participation, responsibility, rights and obligations in a society that enjoys freedom and democracy. Therefore, the work of schools shall be characterised by intellectual freedom, equality and democracy.’

Corresponding provisions can be found in the legislation regulating private primary and lower secondary schools (folkeskole), upper secondary education, etc.

 

The Administration of Justice Act (Retsplejeloven)

Section 115 of the Administration of Justice Act (retsplejeloven, LBK nr 938 af 10/09/2019) provides an important foundation for the regional Info-houses whereby the police, municipalities, the Danish Prison and Probation Service, and the health regions need to be able to exchange information so that they can deal with concerns relating to extremism, radicalisation, and people travelling to conflict zones.

The provision is worded as follows:

‘Section 115. The police may pass on information on the purely private circumstances of individuals to other authorities if doing so may be considered necessary with regard to

  1. crime prevention cooperation (the SSP cooperation, (see section 4.2) “cross-sectoral cooperation”)
  2. the cooperation of the police with social authorities and the social and psychiatric care sector as part of an initiative concerning socially vulnerable individuals (the PSP cooperation), or
  3. the cooperation between the Danish Prison and Probation Service, social authorities and the police (the KSP corporation) as part of an initiative concerning
    • offenders released from institutions under the Danish Prison and Probation Service,
    • offenders under the age of 18 who are released from institutions, etc. outside the Danish Prison and Probation Service where they have been placed in accordance with section 78, subsection 2 of the Sentence Enforcement Act, and
    • individuals released from custody or other detention centre pursuant to chapter 70, if they are considered to be radicalised or at risk of being radicalised.

Para. 2. To the same extent as specified in para. 1, an authority may pass on information on individuals to the police and other authorities included in the forms of cooperation referred to in para. 1. Such information must, in connection with the stated forms of cooperation, not be passed on for the purposes of investigation of criminal cases.

Para. 3. If self-governing institutions that carry out work for the public sector in the field of social services, education and employment or the social and psychiatric care sector are involved, information may be exchanged between the authorities and these institutions in the forms of cooperation referred to in para. 1, to the same extent as specified in paras. 1 and 2.

Para. 4. The authorities and institutions included in the forms of cooperation referred to in para. 1 are not obliged to pass on information pursuant to paras 1-3.’

 

Act on Non-Formal General Adult Education

According to the Act on Non-formal General Adult Education (folkeoplysningsloven, LBK nr 1115 af 31/08/2018), municipal councils (kommunalbestyrelse) establish and distribute margins of expenditure each year for the work of voluntary public awareness associations.

Section 4a of the Act on Non-formal General Adult Education states that public awareness associations cannot be awarded funding or provided with premises pursuant to the act if the purpose or behaviour of the association opposes or undermines democracy or fundamental freedoms and human rights. According to section 4a, municipalities cannot award funding or lend or hire premises to associations on grounds other than the act, including pursuant to the rules of the municipal authority, if the purpose or behaviour of the association opposes or undermines democracy or fundamental freedoms and human rights.

 

Information

National hotline: The national hotline supports and counsels when a family member, friend, colleague, etc. shows signs of radicalisation.

 

National Intelligence and Security Authority (Politiets Efterretningstjeneste, PET)

Since 2007, PET has operated a centre for prevention that enables, supports, and builds partnerships with national and international actors who contribute towards preventing radicalisation and violent extremism.

 

The Danish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalforsorgen)

The Danish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalforsorgen) prevents radicalisation in the Danish prisons, for instance with the mentor programme, skills development of the personnel and development of cross-sectoral measures.

 

Prevention Centre of the Danish National Police (Nationalt Forebyggelsescenter, NFC)

The centre administers and coordinates the participation in crime-preventing collaborations, such as SSP, PSP, and KSP. (See section 4.2)

 

Prevention of radicalisation and extremism through teaching

The National Agency for Education and Quality (Styrelsen for Undervisning og Kvalitet, STUK) supports and guides municipalities, primary and lower secondary schools (folkeskole), upper secondary education institutions and adult education institutions regarding their teaching methods and their teaching in democracy, citizenship, community, and how to strengthen children’s and young people’s critical sense and cope with concerns about extremisms and radicalisation.

The agency manages the Ministry of Children and Education’s teaching consultants, who counsel the local teachers. The teaching consultants have received additional training regarding guidance in relation to radicalisation and extremism.

Furthermore, the ministry’s portal EMU provides teaching material and inspiration for lesson plans about radicalisation and citizenship.

The Ministry of Children and Education launched a national democracy week in relation to the national teaching campaign “Democracy Under Development” that runs throughout 2018.

For more information, see section 5.8

In March 2018, a dialogue forum set up by the former minister of education presented its recommendations to the minister regarding democracy and citizenship education. Based on the recommendations, the minister established a permanent advisory board with the task of safeguarding the focus on citizenship education in the sector in the years to come. The advisory board counsels the minister. The board meets twice a year.

Furthermore, the minister launched a conference in order to kick-start the efforts regarding citizenship education at local schools.