The following article contributes to the emerging field of countering violent extremism (CVE) by proposing a framework to understand and categorise CVE programs, and applying this to Australia's CVE efforts from 2010 to 2014. The first section outlines the evolution of CVE as a policy tool. A framework to categorise CVE programs based on the public health model follows, using illustrative examples of CVE projects run in Western countries. This framework is then applied to CVE programs in Australia, providing a preliminary analysis of CVE policy and its impact. It finds that Australian CVE efforts have overwhelmingly focused on broadly targeted prevention programs that not only make success difficult to evaluate or demonstrate, but also raise the risk of stigmatising entire communities. Most significantly, this broad focus has meant that Australian CVE efforts have likely failed to reach those most in need of assistance.