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Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups

The Role of the Justice System - A Training Manual

image of Prevention of Child Recruitment and Exploitation by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups

The present Manual presents practical approaches and measures that can be put in place, particularly in the justice system and in collaboration with other sectors, to prevent child recruitment and exploitation by terrorist and violent extremist groups. Pursuing the common goal of preventing child recruitment by terrorist and violent extremist groups involves working together, not only within the justice system but also with other systems such as child protection, education and health, to design early interventions for children at risk and ensure that these children and their families receive the protection, assistance and support that they need.

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The need for a comprehensive prevention strategy

The issue of child recruitment and exploitation by terrorist and violent extremist groups is extremely complex, and often has deep roots. It cannot be addressed exclusively as a crime issue. A selective and limited approach to prevention is likely to miss the opportunity to address the origins of the problem, whether at social or individual level, and thus be inefficient. For this reason, this Manual calls for a comprehensive scope in prevention planning, one that can only rely on the cooperation of multiple and different actors. This is not to say that the justice system has no role to play in this context. On the contrary, the justice system has the primary responsibility for “addressing the threat” by holding perpetrators of recruitment accountable, and keeping society safe. At the same time, the justice system can play a crucial part in ensuring that all children grow up in a protective and nurturing environment, while, at the same time, preventing revictimization of those children who are victims of recruitment.

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