An Evidence Review of Strategies Targeting Youth Who Have Radicalised to Violent Extremism



Youth Radicalisation, Countering Violent Extremism, Program Implementation and Evaluation


This paper reviews strategies and approaches aimed as assisting and rehabilitating youth who have been imprisoned for terrorist offences or identified as at risk of radicalisation, due to their behaviours and associations. The paper reports results from a review of evidence across radicalisation studies, the CVE academic and grey literature, and data collected from a small number of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), who work in youth CVE. The aim was to identify effective approaches, as well as issues and challenges that need to be considered in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs aimed at countering violent extremism (CVE) amongst youth. While it was found that evidence around youth CVE is limited in scope in relation to identifying what works, there were some consistent and overlapping findings across the sources of evidence in relation to youth intervention design and delivery. This included the importance placed on family involvement and participation in an intervention; that rapport building with youth and youth work approaches are essential when engaging radicalised youth; that interventions must be trauma informed and develop empathy and perspective taking; that interventions must be developmentally appropriate and include informal forms of engagement involving non-clinical and non-vocational/educational activities; that interventions must be transparent in how they operate and rely on multi-agency responses; that the evaluation of youth interventions need to focus on measuring a variety of cognitive and behavioural outcomes, including outcomes not necessarily related to reductions in specific offending/problematic behaviours; and that program evaluation of youth interventions need to assess change relating to psychopathology deficits and risks that have an impact on problematic behaviour.


This research was funded by the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Program 2022. The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the State government of New South Wales, Australia.


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