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Step Together –Telephone and digital support service for early intervention and prevention of violent extremism

Target Audience
FamiliesGeneral publicLocal community organisations/NGOs
key themes association
(Early) preventionCommunity engagement/civil society
Peer Reviewed practice
No
Year
2020

Organisation

The service is funded by the NSW Government Office of Community Safety and Cohesion, Department of Communities and Justice. Since its inception in 2017, the service has been delivered by On The Line, an Australian not for profit social health provider, who operate 21 different counselling support services throughout Australia.

Type of Organisation: Governmental institution

Project description:

Step Together is a helpline and digital support for the early intervention and prevention of violent extremism. The service offers free, confidential counselling via phone or through web chat, as well as education, self-help and referrals to local support via our website.

Step Together is for families, friends, and workers - anyone who notices changes in someone they care about. It is not designed for the person of concern. It is for carers, families, workers and supporters since research shows that a strong support network is one of the most powerful things that can prevent someone becoming involved in violent extremism.

Step Together is designed to prevent all types of extremism. So this could be Violent Far Right or Islamist extremist interest, but could also include those who don’t yet identify with any group.

Our service offers professional telephone counselling staffed by qualified counsellors who all have a tertiary degree in a relevant discipline of psychology, social work, social science, welfare studies, or counselling. Counsellors have all had over 450 hours training before they start on the service.

Step Together also offers web chat and self-help via blogs and information on our website, as well as our referral database, which can be used by the counsellors or visitors to the website. This database contains nearly 300 community organisations who offer social health support – anything from employment organisations and disability services, to youth groups or religious support. Anything to help people access support and engagement within their local community.

The service is confidential (unless serious and imminent risk is identified), and operates 7am-9pm, 7 days a week for people living in NSW, Australia.
People might access Step Together if they see changes in other people. They may have noticed someone becoming more isolated, looking at certain content online, associating with new groups of people, or blaming problems in society or their own life on a certain group of people, race or religion.

However, many signs could also indicate other social health issues, and it’s only on rare occasions where they may indicate someone is headed towards an interest in extremism. Helping people figure out what is - or isn’t – a concern is a large part of the service.

Deliverables:

Website, phone line, FB, Twitter accounts, training modules for counsellors (see here).

Read the full practice (also available in French and German)

Contact

Contact person: Karol Petrovska
Email | Website