Life After Hate stands as the industry leader when it comes to accountability, professional standards, and data-driven decision-making. As the first U.S.-based organization in this space and the leader in the industry, we feel an obligation to raise the standards and the quality of this important work. That means constantly looking for ways to better use technology to expand our reach and improve the delivery of information and engagement activities and to engage with individuals on the same social media platforms extremists operate on.
Every program we offer, every initiative we launch has quarterly formative and annual summative goals and objectives. As part of this commitment, LAH has a feedback loop in place so that data is continuously influencing our decisions. Life After Hate has clear metrics to achieve (individuals reached, impressions, completed courses, etc.) and the desired outcomes as a result of those metrics. If the data shows we aren’t achieving the outcomes, then the efforts need to be adjusted, based on the available information, so that we ultimately hit our goals.
For the organization as a whole, that means better understanding the long-term impact of our work, and learning what works in services for disengagement, deradicalization, and reintegration. As we learn it, we must share it with the field so that it can be integrated into other efforts to address violent extremism. This is particularly important as we see the growth in extremism across virtually all social media platforms.
As Life After Hate’s work expands, we continue to gather the needed data from all the efforts targeting families. This includes understanding what works to increase feelings of safety, increase sense of competence in interacting with their loved ones/individual of concern, how to feel less alone and less shame/guilt, gaining an ability to recognize the risk behaviors of loved ones, and increasing skills in modifying the environment to promote their loved ones’ disengagement.
The work of deradicalization and disengagement is complex and messy. It is insufficient for any organization working in this space to just mean well. Life After Hate is the industry leader because of three commitments we have recently made, commitments that are now part of our DNA. First, we believe in data. Second, we believe in transparency, knowing that we must share that data – good, bad, or ugly – with the field to improve the entire industry. Third, and most important, we believe that licensed mental health professionals and social workers must be part of the process and must be trained both in how to identify and address risks, working in tandem with peers who have literally walked in the same boots as current violent extremists.