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8 May 2015—WA agencies undergo new program to prevent violent extremism

Minister for Justice

WA agencies undergo new program to prevent violent extremism

8 May 2015

Western Australian front-line agencies are the first to undertake new cutting edge training under the Australian Government's Countering Violent Extremism Program to identify those at risk of radicalisation, and divert them from ideologies of hatred and violence.

Organisations taking part in the training include the Department of Corrective Services, the Department for Child Protection and Family Support, the Department of Education, the Office of Multicultural Interests, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Western Australia Police.

It is important that worried families, friends and communities of someone who may be falling victim to violent extremist ideology know that they can come forward and that the Australian Government is expanding the capacity to be able to help them.

There is no single path towards radicalisation, and there is no single personality type, religion, culture or sex that gives us an indication that someone is vulnerable to radicalisation.

It takes time for an individual to come to accept the use of violence as a means of pursuing their political, ideological or religious goals, however access to extremist and terrorist propaganda - in particular online - is fast-tracking this process.

Someone who is becoming radicalised will exhibit certain changes to their behaviour that can be noticed by members of their communities.

Recognising these changes is vital because it provides us with the opportunity to identify those who are going down the wrong path and to step in to turn them away from the ideologies of violence and hate.

Intervening early requires the combined effort of the whole community - parents, community organisations, educators, governments and the police to work together towards a common goal.

We must become better at noticing those warning signs that could indicate someone is falling prey to violent ideology.

Of course, it is the close family and friends of someone becoming radicalised that is most likely to notice changes first.

The Government has invested over $40 million in new major initiatives to turn vulnerable individuals away from violent extremist ideologies. This is in addition to the $545 million for initiatives in the Social Services' portfolio that encourage social harmony, settlement, integration and cohesion in our multicultural communities.

This course is just one part of the Government's comprehensive approach to countering violent extremism. But it is an extremely important part and in the coming months will be rolled out in every Australian capital city.

The true measure of our success will be the impact that we can have at the community level to keep our nation safe.

The coursework and supporting tools have been developed by Monash University. More information on the Countering Violent Extremism Program can be found at www.livingsafetogether.gov.au.