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On 2 November 2015 the NSW government announced that it would be spending $47 million on strategies aimed at identifying students at risk of radicalisation, and to help counter violent extremism in schools. Measures include the creation of five expert teams comprised of former principals, psychologists and student support workers who will be deployed to 'at risk' NSW schools to respond to incidents of violent extremism. Counselors and teaching staff will also be given extra training to identify students at risk, alongside the creation of a hotline for people needing advice on how to help young persons who may have been exposed to extremist influences.

The government will also establish a countering violent extremism Expert Council, comprising of experts from the private, academic and non-government sectors.

Whilst the package has been welcomed by the NSW opposition and community leaders, some experts have expressed concern that asking people to spot the signs of radicalisation could be counter-productive. "The resulting stigmatisation and atmosphere of fear could feed extremist narratives," wrote Andrew Zammit, a counter-terrorism expert from the University of Melbourne.

Posted by Sebastian De Brennan, Barrister, s.debrennan@humanrightslaw.com.au

© 2017 Sebastian De Brennan. Barrister at Law