More parents concerned about radicalizing children: Helpline

The Radicalization Helpline is currently in close contact with 68 families, of which more than half of the children have already traveled abroad to conflict areas. This is number is much higher than the organization expected.

This is according to figures retrieved by BNR.

The Helpline was established in January by the Cooperative Union of Moroccan Dutch SMN. "We had expected to be able to help a maximum of 100 parents this year, but we're already at 68" Farid Azarkan of the SMN said to BNR. "We also had to train more counselors and we are giving much more information. On all fronts there is a much greater need for support and information."

Azarkan expects that this group of concerned parents are only a fraction of the number of families in need of help. There are also families who make contact with aid organizations directly and families who have not reached out for help.

The Helpline assists families in several different ways. "If the child is already radicalized and is about to leave the countries, then we can together, and with the permission of the parents, immediately call in the appropriate aid organizations", Azarkan explained. "But even before that, if a parent has a hard time contacting the child, because he is hanging out with the wrong people, we can ask another person to spend time with these children. Through our network for example, an imam can be called to talk with him or her."

According to Azarkan, offering these families the appropriate help and support is a challenge, because they do not have enough funding. "We work with volunteers and we have one paid employee, we got money for that from a local fund", he said to BNR. "We get no money from the government, so we have to make as little as possible costs. We are working hard on requesting new, small contributions from funds so that we can continue this."