Europe’s prevention crisis: How can civil society respond?

24 October 2019
A new publication by Protection Approaches shows that Europe is facing a prevention crisis, with hate speech and discrimination threatening identity-based violence.

In response, Protection Approaches undertook a mapping of civil society organisations active in the prevention of identity-based violence in Europe, finding that there are “very few organisations working to prevent violence in Western European states and beyond the continent’s borders”, but there is substantial interest in greater inter-connectedness among relevant European organisations.

Drawing on the input of over 100 organisations based in Europe and around the world, and on a body of academic and policy literature, the authors call for three system changes and sets out concrete next steps for civil society.

Three system changes:

  1. Reframe the challenge, rearticulating that what are too often seen as disconnected problems are part of the same cross-cutting issue.
  2. Integrate and prioritise prevention. Early warning systems and horizon-scanning to foresee tomorrow’s challenges are preferable to firefighting – morally, politically, financially.
  3. Connect the evidence, recognising that hate crime, violent extremism and the risks of mass atrocities share underlying factors, and can therefore be addressed in a joined-up manner.

Next steps:

  1. Create an online hub for European civil society where information can be pooled and ideas shared.
  2. Establish a European civil society virtual working group.
  3. Set up a European civil society proactive risk analysis forum to address threats we cannot yet see.

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