Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks, including 7.5 hours of live online sessions. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on coursework. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth.

This 12-week course has been developed by the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security at Dalhousie University. This course will introduce learners to the global issue of children recruited and used in violence. Through a combination of facilitated and asynchronous weekly learning, students will recognize the similarities and differences between the recruitment and use of children as soldiers in armed conflict, and their engagement in violent extremism in Canada. This course has been designed for the needs and experiences of Canadian police officers, as well as community practitioners who work collaboratively with police, in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the issue of the recruitment and use of children in violence from both an international and domestic perspective. This course focuses on interdisciplinary solutions to prevent the recruitment and use of children in violence around the globe.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Understanding the Issue - What constitutes child soldiering?

This unit will introduce learners to the key definitions and concepts that have prevailed with respect to children used in violence. Unit 1 will focus on helping learners understand the definition of a child soldier, how recruitment takes place, gender considerations, as well as the biopsychosocial impacts of armed conflict on children.

Unit 2: Connecting the Dots - Why are children recruited and used in violence a security sector concern?

This unit will focus on helping learners understand why children are recruited and used as soldiers, and why that is a distinct concern for security sector actors everywhere. This unit will serve as a bridge, demonstrating connections and similarities between the use of children as soldiers around the world to the vulnerability of children and youth domestically engaged in violent extremism and radicalization leading to violence.

Unit 3: Modelling a Systemic Response - The Hexagon

This unit will enable students to understand the characteristics of different types of violent radicalization. Learners will recognize and understand behaviours and situations that contribute to violent radicalization; identify vulnerability and protection factors for violent radicalization; and introduce possible intervention practices to respond to situations of radicalization leading to violence.

Unit 4: Creating Safe & Supportive Communities - Where do we go from here?

The aim of this unit is to focus on the implementation of a Children’s Rights Upfront approach to domestic and international peace and security work. The unit will outline the importance of collaboration, coordination and information within and between sectors, whether it relates to children as soldiers abroad or vulnerable children and youth in Canada. The knowledge from the three previous units will be applied to a Canadian context and approaches to prevention work that can be utilized in Canadian communities will be identified, to ensure at risk children and youth are safe and supported.

What You Will Learn

Following successful completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify what constitutes the recruitment and use of children in violence, both domestically and internationally.
  • Discuss why children recruited and used in violence are a security sector concern.
  • Demonstrate how security sector actors can prevent the recruitment and use of children in violence, including into extremist groups.
  • Identify connections between the issue of children in violence abroad and domestically, and the link between children used as soldiers and children involved in violent extremism.


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The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.

Recommended For

  • Police officers with responsibility for engaging with youth at risk;
  • Police officers considering international deployments;
  • Community practitioners who work collaboratively with police.


"What is the difference between a child soldier in Africa and a youth gang member in Canada? Prior to taking this course, I would have had a much different answer than the one I now hold. Now my answer to that question would be, ‘there is no difference in their roles, as it is only how they are perceived’. I would highly recommend this course to front line police officers, Gang Enforcement Units, Organized Major project units, school/youth liaisons and police officers considering UN/EUROPOL missions."

RCMP "E" Division HQ
Federal Serious and Organized Crime
Major Projects

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Children Recruited and Used in Violence
Online - Self-Paced
Jan 10, 2025 to Apr 04, 2025
Online - Scheduled
7:00PM to 8:30PM
Jan 22, 2025 to Mar 19, 2025
Schedule and Location
Total Learning Hours
  • Online Campus - Atlantic Time
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Fee non-credit $1,095.00
Required Software
A webcam and microphone will be required for the live sessions. 
Section Notes

We are closed from December 24, 2024 to January 1, 2025 inclusive. Access credentials to the course site may be delayed for those who enrol during this time period.

This course has scheduled written assignments and discussions within the term time frame. There will also be 5 facilitated online sessions - click on View Details for dates. *Please note: Live session dates and times may be subject to change, but will be finalized 6 weeks prior to course start date.* 

The course site will be open at 4:00 PM Atlantic Time on the course start date.

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