FAQs

I have noticed that my child/friend/student is increasingly expressing extremist views. How can I tell whether he/she is being radicalised or has joined an extremist religious or political group?

Unfortunately, there is no checklist that can give you a clear answer. The following kinds of behaviour, however, may point towards a radicalisation process:

  • He/she has significantly changed his/her way of living (e.g. eating and sleeping habits, hobbies) and has expressed an aversion to his/her former way of life.
  • He/she has partially or completely withdrawn from his/her friends and social environment.
  • He/she often visits websites and online forums that propagate extremist views.
  • He/she is becoming progressively more aggressive when talking about his/her own political or religious views.
  • He/she makes openly racist and/or anti-Semitic comments and glorifies violence.

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What can I, as a parent, do if my child has extremist views?

Do everything you can to maintain contact with your child. Express interest in his/her opinions, experiences and friends. Talk about his/her convictions. Voice your disapproval of extremist views, but make sure your child knows he/she is loved and trusted. Seek professional assistance if you don’t know what to do!

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How confidential is the counselling?

We treat your matter confidentially and do not pass your contact information on to third parties. In exceptional cases, if we have reason to suspect that your child/student/friend poses a threat to him-/herself or to others, we are obliged to inform the safety authorities. We only do this after all information has been thoroughly reviewed.

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Will you also speak to my child/friend/student?

Our advisers’ aim is primarily to help you – as parents, family members, friends and teachers – avoid losing contact to your child/student/friend. They advise you on how to behave and give you professional assistance in this difficult situation. We only contact the young person in question if everyone concerned agrees, and if it is beneficial to the counselling process.

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Is there a fee for the counselling?

No, our advisers provide their services free of charge.

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What if I change my mind and want to discontinue the counselling process?

You can terminate the counselling process at any time. It is also possible to interrupt it and get in touch with the information centre again at a later time.

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How long does the counselling process take?

The duration is not set in stone. Sometimes all it takes is the first interview to answer important questions and dispel uncertainties. In other cases the counselling and assistance could take several months.

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What are the first positive changes I can expect to notice in my child/student/friend?

Your child/friend/student won’t change overnight, but rather gradually over time. You might start to notice that he/she is again communicating more and contacting old friends.

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Is the counselling available in any languages other than German?

Yes, we can provide advice in English, Arabic, Turkish and Persian.

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Who are the advisers?

The men and women of the information centre are a multi-professional team with different backgrounds (ethnology, psychology, youth work). They all have extensive experience in providing advice.

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