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​Countering violent extremism among juveniles

Published date: Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Young people who pose a risk to national security will have their communications monitored and undergo new de-radicalisation programs inside juvenile justice centres, as part of new measures to counter violent extremism in NSW.

A specialist Countering Violent Extremism unit within the juvenile justice system will identify and closely manage radicalised youths, or those at risk of radicalisation.

Under the new regime, detainees deemed by law enforcement agencies to pose a possible risk will receive a ‘National Security Interest’ designation. They face increased screening and restrictions on mail, telephone calls and visitors.

Juvenile Justice will also develop an intervention program for detainees at risk of radicalisation, similar to the model used for adult inmates.

This will include individual case management addressing disengagement and isolation. This model of de-radicalisation will be the first program of its type in Australia.

Frontline staff will receive training on signs of radicalisation, intelligence gathering and assessment of extremist detainees.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, “We have the most robust counter-terrorism arrangements in the country and this new strategy complements other initiatives such was our post-sentence detention scheme and stronger parole provisions.

“We must ensure young children who are exposed to radicalisation are given counselling and a pathway back to life in the community.”

There are five detainees charged with terror-related offences in Juvenile Justice Centres, up from zero in 2015. Advice from law enforcement agencies is the number will continue to increase.

“Any growth or evidence of extremism is of grave concern, which is why we need to make sure we are on top of our game when it comes to managing these detainees,” Minister for Counter Terrorism and Minister for Corrections David Elliott said.

Juvenile Justice Executive Director Melanie Hawyes said there would be consultation on the measures including the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.