Radicalisation and violent extremism: early intervention opportunities at the juvenile justice frontline

Mrs Sarah Andruchow1

1Juvenile Justice Nsw, , Australia

Prevention is better than cure. This conventional saying surely rings true for terrorism. Although the traditional approach to crime has been to respond, the present expectation of governments is to prevent crime – especially those that cause significant harm such as terrorism. Another contemporary challenge is the increasing presence of young people involved in terrorism-related offending. The recent delivery of radicalisation and extremism awareness training in Juvenile Justice NSW demonstrated that frontline juvenile justice professionals working in custodial and community environments have a unique opportunity to identify signs of radicalisation. Well prepared, skilled and resourced juvenile justice workers can support the diversion of vulnerable young people from violent extremism and in doing so, could help prevent terrorism. High standards of professionalism from juvenile justice workers contribute to counter those narratives that often directly fuel violent extremism and terrorism. This article aims to share the experiences of staff members, trainers and the agency from the recent delivery of radicalisation and violent extremism training in Juvenile Justice NSW.


Sarah is currently the Principal Project Officer in the Countering Violent Extremism team for Juvenile Justice NSW. Since commencing with Juvenile Justice NSW in October 2017, Sarah has been responsible for providing operational and strategic advice on complex policy and project issues related to countering violent extremism. This has included assessment, management and interventions with terrorism related offenders as well as outcomes and evaluation planning.

Sarah is an accomplished, qualified counter terrorism professional with over a decade of operational and strategic experience. She has an extensive knowledge base drawn from roles focusing on foreign and domestic security issues including terrorism and organised crime. Sarah is practiced in terrorism operations, investigation, prosecution and policy involving high-profile local and international incidents.

Sarah has a Master of Criminology, a Bachelor of Arts in Government and an Advanced Diploma in Public Safety. She is also qualified to deliver training and assessment services.

Australasian Youth Justice Conference

The Australasian Youth Justice Administrators (AYJA) hosts a bi-annual Australasian Youth Justice Conference (AYJC) for academics, practitioners, and government and non-government agencies to drive and showcase youth justice initiatives and innovations nationally and internationally.  Learnings from these conferences contribute to evidence-based responses for youth justice and provide new ideas for youth justice at both a jurisdictional, national and international level.  EMAIL: secretariat@ayja.org.au

AYJA is working in collaboration with Juvenile Justice New South Wales (JJ NSW) and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) to deliver the third AYJC in 2019.

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