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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 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.

 

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 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 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 phased in. The reform includes a plan to construct a brand 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.

Apart from this reform, the following actors and organisations (among others) focus on young people’s rights:

 

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 also offers other 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:

 

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.

 

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:
    1. Developing strategic action plans for prevention and the interdisciplinary organisation to support it.
    2. 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.