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Research project BR/175/A4/AFFECT (Research action BR)

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Description :


To identify, detect and address the underlying factors that lead some individuals or groups to participate in violence has become critical for every EU member states. The attacks in Paris on 7-9 January and 13 November 2015 and the Brussels bombings on 22 March 2016 have renewed discussions on what should and could be done in order to improve our knowledge in the following areas: process of radicalisation and its prevention, matters related to the prosecution of individuals suspected of terrorism and consequently their detention, and the measures to be adopted in order to protect citizens against terrorism more broadly. Even though in Belgium the police, penitentiary and justice systems have undergone significant reforms over the past 20 years, the recent deadly Paris and Brussels attacks have also spurred significant additional legislative activity in the area of security. The federal government and the governments of the federated entities have been, urged to adopt different "action plans" and, eventually, a serious reorganisation of the Belgian security assemblage has been undertaken. These rapidly-evolving developments in counter-terrorism have raised concerns over their legitimacy, impact and effectiveness. The objective of AFFECT is consequently to answer the overarching question of the effectiveness and intended or unintended consequences of Belgian counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation policies.

The aims of this impact assessment are as follows:

- Providing an overview of the Belgian counter-terrorism policy, including its development, legal framework and the distribution of competencies between the different institutions, agencies and bodies involved;

- Identifying and observing the different actions taken by the different actors involved in the Belgian counter-radicalisation process understood as a policy process in five steps: detection measures, preventative community measures, preventative administrative and judicial measures, preventative measures in prison and probation, extra-judicial measures;

- Gathering and analysing evidence on how these security policies may have unintended effects on security professionals’ daily routines and professional culture on one hand, and possible negative effects in terms of the risk of polarisation and radicalisation within both the target groups and the non-target groups on the other

- Providing examples of best practices in Belgium and abroad to support policy making.

AFFECT aims to produce a comprehensive, proportionate, evidence-based, and unbiased impact assessment, taking into account the stakeholders’ views. AFFECT activities will be embedded in the policy cycle, transparent and of a high quality. In offering some timely research and recommendations, AFFECT will contribute to better regulation at government’s level.

- The objective of AFFECT is to assess the effectiveness of Belgian de-radicalisation and counter-terrorism policies and programmes and their impacts on social cohesion and liberties.

- AFFECT endeavours to offer a comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of these policies in order to identify good practices, but also loopholes, gaps and duplication of efforts.

- The ultimate intended goal of AFFECT is the concrete improvement of policy and decision-making through objective research and analysis.

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