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 Get the facts

What is violent extremism?

In Australia, every person has the right to hold and express their own beliefs.

Individuals are free to:

  • seek out new information and ideas
  • form and join organisations and;
  • protest peacefully.

Violent extremism refers to:

  • a person or group who is willing to use violence; or
  • advocates the use of violence by others, to achieve a political, ideological or religious goal.

Violent extremism has no place in Australia.

Countering violent extremism is about preventing violence before it occurs.

Countering violent extremism is a long-term challenge. It requires the combined efforts of governments, law enforcement, community groups, academia and individuals.

What is terrorism?

Terrorism is an act or a threat of violence that is intended to force the public or any government by intimidation to advance a political, religious or ideological cause.

It is illegal to commit or support terrorism in Australia or overseas. For more information, see Australian National Security.

Empowering local communities

Community leaders and groups play an important role in preventing people from being drawn into violent extremism. Here are some steps that community groups and organisations can take:

  • Promote social cohesion and participation through local community services and events;
  • Identify and support vulnerable people through referral and counselling programs;
  • Provide support programs for young people that build their resilience to harmful influences, such as mentoring, training and education programs;
  • Encourage positive and constructive participation in Australia's political processes; and
  • Support those affected by violence.

To find out how your community group or organisation can help, see Identify and Act.

The role of professionals

Professionals in fields such as health, social work and education are well positioned to identify signs of radicalisation. Professionals can also support affected individuals by addressing factors that might be contributing to their vulnerability to extremism, or report concerns to authorities.

If you are a professional looking for advice and support, see Identify and Act.​​​​​​