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 I am worried, what can I do?

If you are worried somebody you know may be radicalising, there are a range of strategies and services that may be of assistance.

Someone is becoming a radical

When someone begins to separate from their family, friends and community or demonstrates a significant move towards extreme beliefs and attitudes, that person may be in the early stages of the radicalisation process. If that same person begins to advocate or promote the use of violence to achieve an ideological, political or religious goal, they may be radicalising towards violent extremism.

Open communication

The best way to deal with the problem of radicalisation is to maintain open communication with the person. A positive relationship and open communication can be an effective intervention in itself. Even if someone decides to separate themselves from close friends and family, these people will still be helpful to them in the future.

To help them, listen to their reasons for becoming involved with a radical ideology or group. Try to understand their perspective. It is also important to separate their behaviour from who they are as a person. Even if you disagree with what they are saying, it is important to find some way to let them know they are accepted and that you are there to help them.

Early intervention

Early intervention is best. However, before you try to intervene, try to fully understand a person's situation and motivation.

A significant event, or a build-up of incidents, can trigger and/or accelerate the radicalisation process. If issues can be dealt with before they become large problems, this may prevent a person from radicalising further.

There are a wide range of social and health services available to all Australians. These include:

  • education and employment services
  • health services
  • housing services
  • mental health and counselling
  • refugee help services
  • religious and cultural centres
  • telephone counselling services
  • youth community centres.

If you cannot approach a service provider directly, ask a friend, colleague or your local doctor to assist. These services are there to help all Australians deal with issues and become active, contributing members of their community. Once specific issues have been identified and addressed, further invention might not be required.

However, those who are undergoing the radicalisation process often become increasingly difficult to communicate with. They may refuse well‑intentioned attempts to help them. This can be hurtful but such refusals should not discourage those around them from trying to intervene to help the person.

What else can I do?

If a person continues to promote the use of violence and other illegal activities to achieve an ideological, religious or political goal, stronger intervention may be required. The most helpful response involves early action by concerned families, friends and communities, with further assistance from government services where needed, in the three areas of a person's life impacted by radicalisation—social relations, ideology and criminal activity.

Threats of harm

If someone indicates they are going to harm themselves or other people, this should be taken seriously and must be acted upon immediately. While this level of radicalisation is rare, it is not helpful to the person or the community to ignore such behaviour.

If you are worried that somebody you know may be radicalising to violent extremism, contact one of the numbers listed below. The identity of callers will be kept confidential.

  • Call the National Security Hotline on 1800 1234 00 if you are worried somebody you know may be radicalising to the point of violence.
  • Contact the police on triple zero (000) if someone you know has threatened to harm you or someone else.

If you do not speak English well, call the Translating and Interpreting Hotline on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact the National Security Hotline or the emergency services and interpret for you.

You are not alone

Many people and communities in Australia have helped to move people away from radicalisation to violent extremism.

As a friend, family or community member providing assistance, it is important to look after yourself as well. Speak with trusted people in your community or other families who have had similar experiences, or contact a support service such as Lifeline on 13 11 14.

More information on what to do if you are worried about someone you know is radicalising is also available in the following information sheet: