RAND: Countering Violent Extremism in Australia and Abroad

As countries around the world develop countering violent extremism (CVE) programs to prevent homegrown terrorism, there is a dearth of understanding about what types of such programs exist and which approaches are most effective. A new RAND Corporation report aims to help CVE program directors and policymakers in Australia place their efforts in context and identify promising approaches domestically and internationally.

“CVE is a relatively new term for a set of programs that share ties to, but are distinct from, traditional counterterrorism efforts and domestically focused law enforcement activities, such as community policing,” said Jennifer Moroney, a lead author on the report, senior policy researcher at RAND and previous director of RAND’s Australia office from 2014 to 2018. “Significant differences exist across nations in terms of CVE strategy and approach, how long government-funded efforts have been underway, and how government and other partners and stakeholders work together.”

The study by RAND, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, focused on Multicultural New South Wales’ The Point, an online magazine and resource for Australian youth, and the Australian Multicultural Foundation’s Community Awareness Training Manual—Building Resistance in the Community program (CAT), a train-the-trainer program to provide key stakeholders with the tools to detect and counter radicalization. The researchers attempted to develop a means for helping CVE programs identify other programs with similar areas of focus or activities so that these programs could potentially learn from one another.

“By mapping programs against goals and activity types, we were able to create a general framework for characterizing similar CVE programs in Australia, Europe, and the United States which could facilitate information exchange across countries,” said Andrew Lauland, an author of the report and senior policy researcher at RAND.

Using this framework and the results of the interviews and data collection, the project team analyzed the Australian programs to identify their primary characteristics, and then examined publicly available information to identify programs in Europe and the United States with goals, approaches and target populations similar to those of the Australian programs.

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