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How to evaluate a program working with terrorists? Understanding Australia’s countering violent extremism early intervention program


Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter TerrorismJournal abstract

The following outlines the emergence of countering violent extremism (CVE) policy and practice in a Western context, before examining how evaluation has (or has not) thus far assisted in the development of CVE initiatives. A subsequent analysis finds that to date, many Australian CVE programs have struggled to clearly articulate what they specifically aim to achieve, contributing to the development of a number of extremely broad and ultimately unfocused programs. The study then outlines the emergence of the Australian Countering Violent Extremism Early Intervention Program (CVE EIP), before engaging with key policymakers and practitioners to identify and articulate what success should look like for the program. A thematic analysis of 18 semi-structured interviews with policymakers and practitioners involved in the program finds the overarching goal to be articulated quite differently by stakeholders implementing the initiative, compared to those responsible for national policy formulation. By providing the first open source analysis of the CVE EIP, this applied research aims to make a modest contribution towards the effective implementation of the Australian CVE strategy.

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