Tribune de Genève.
Geneva school staff will be trained to spot high risk pupils by looking for social clues and highly ritualised religious behaviour.
Geneva’s schools and culture department (DIP) plans to launch the training next year, according to the newspaper Tribune de Genève. The programme is the first of its kind in Switzerland.
According to Anne Emery-Torracinta, head of the DIP, 250 people will receive two days of training between February and April next year. Staff working at primary schools all the way through to professional training centres will learn how to assess violent extremism, islamic extremism, islamic state propaganda and adolescents at risk.
The courses will be made up of two compulsory stages, followed by three optional modules.
The objective of the programme is to ensure that teachers, social councillors, nurses and other staff in contact with students, are better able to spot early warning signs of radicalisation.
Emery-Torracinta, says that the signs are sometimes subtle. Social problems, family problems, highly ritualised religious practices, behaviour changes, identity changes, changes in physical apparence and numerous other things need to be considered.
Unlike Zurich, Geneva has no plans to use software to spot signs of extremism.
The new programme is part of a larger prevention programme launched in 2016, a plaform dubbed “Maintaining the link”.
Since 2016, 35 cases have been reported, of which 8 were passed to the DIP, and 2 as far as the police.
André Duvillard, a delegate of the national security network, told Tribune de Genève that Geneva is one of Switzerland’s radicalisation hotspots. At the same time he said: “Geneva is one of the rare cantons to have put in place a real strategy to fight radicalisation.”