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 Understanding the radicalisation process

It is important to understand what the radicalisation process looks like, in order for families, friends and communities to help prevent acts of violent extremism.

The radicalisation process

There is no single pathway of radicalisation towards violent extremism, as the process is unique to each person. However, there are some common elements in the experiences of most people who have become radicalised in Australia, regardless of their beliefs or motivations.

These elements include significant behavioural changes in major areas of a person's life including ideology, social relations and criminal activity. If someone is radicalising towards violent extremism, changes can often occur in all three of these areas.

A person's behaviour must also become more intense and extreme over time, when compared with that person's previous or 'normal' behaviour. Their circumstances and environment should also be taken into account.

Increasing religious devoutness or commitment to unconventional beliefs is not the same as radicalisation towards violent extremism.

If there is a valid alternative explanation for the changes in behaviour, these changes should not be considered a sign of radicalisation.

If a person radicalises to the point of promoting, threatening or using violence for an extremist cause, the Australian Government and the wider community have a responsibility to act.

Identifying radicalisation

Most individuals begin the radicalisation process in one of three key areas—ideology, social relations or criminal activity. This normally means that a person's behaviour will noticeably change in one area first, and not across all three areas at the same time, but change in these areas can happen very quickly.

Most people do not go all the way to becoming a violent extremist. Something or someone might interrupt the radicalisation process, and the person does not get to the point of threatening or using violence, and may even reject their radical ideas. When this happens, it is called disengagement. The active involvement of families, friends and the community in this process is very important.

More information on understanding and identifying radicalisation to violent extremism is available in the information sheet: