The Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) group has been engaged in a series of applied research projects for preventing radicalisation, promoting social cohesion and countering terrorism for safe and inclusive communities. Four major reports for international, national and state partners were completed in 2020 on: assessing terrorism risk, evaluation of police case management, understanding vulnerabilities to right-wing extremism and identifying transitions to violent attacks.
The group’s research informs the state and national government, local councils and evaluation of policing processes to early intervention, diversion from extremism and countering militancy.
Associate Professor Debra Smith of PCVE co-leads the Applied Security Science Partnership (ASSP) that brings together police, security practitioners and academics to build robust evidence on behavioural indicators of violent extremism. Debra was also part of the expert panel commissioned for the independent review of effective case management and information sharing barriers relevant to violent extremism.
The PCVE group report on Dissenting citizenship? Understanding vulnerabilities to right-wing extremism on the local level was used to inform the establishment of the Wyndham Anti-racism Support Network, the first of its kind in Australia.
Debra Smith and Mario Peucker from the group conducted workshops and reviews for capability building for the Victoria Police and local councils to increase understanding of vulnerabilities to extremism and effective early interventions to prevent radicalisation leading to violence, including a forum open to the public Learning about Hate: Creating a Connected Community.
The Ripple Effect project conducted by Sir Zelman Cowan Centre (SZCC) with funding from the Victorian Legal Services Board, brought together ten faith leaders from Victoria’s diverse faith-based communities representing six different faith groups to upskill and support these leaders to deliver governance workshops to the boards of their organisations. During the pandemic, the program was delivered online to support participants to acquire technical skills in online facilitation and use of online resources.
In June 2020, SZCC hosted Governing in a Crisis, a forum for community leaders examining the effects of COVID-19 on faith-communities in Victoria. The panel reflected on the support faith-based organisations are providing to individuals in crisis due to the pandemic, how communities are managing to worship together while being apart, and how good governance practices can help faith-based organisations meet the needs of their communities in these challenging times.
Professor Ramon Spaaij served as scientific expert to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on preventing violent extremism through sport. His research is cited extensively in UNODC’s new Preventing Violent Extremism through Sport: Technical Guide, for which he was also an expert reviewer and member of the UNODC Expert Group.