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Local service provision to counter violent extremism: perspectives, capabilities and challenges arising from an Australian service mapping project


Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political AggressionJournal abstract

Authorities are increasingly engaging community-based organisations and social service providers to help them prevent and reverse radicalisation. However, little is known about community-based services for youth at risk of violent extremism and whether service providers have the necessary capacity and willingness to take on this role. This paper reports the results of research undertaken in 2016 to map community-based services for youth at risk of violent extremism in Australia. Research teams examined the capabilities and needs of service providers across three of Australia’s most populous states, which have experienced several dozen counter-terrorism operations. Interviews with service providers indicated they have specific conceptions of what constitutes violent extremism, the likely causes and how they should be addressed. While it was found that, in general, service providers are willing to engage in practices that could help prevent individuals radicalising to extremism, a range of constraints and capability gaps were identified. The agencies that were interviewed believed that providing services aimed at countering violent extremism (CVE) involved significant risks, relating to the impact on the provision of current services, the ability to engage clients and adverse community reactions. The paper considers the implications of the results for the delivery of CVE policy and practice.

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