National efforts

Joint Counter Terrorism Teams

The Joint Counter Terrorism Teams are a partnership between members from the AFP, state and territory police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. The aim of the teams is to work closely with other domestic agencies in the broader intelligence community and with international partners to identify and investigate terrorist activities in Australia (including terrorism financing) with an emphasis on preventative operations. The AFP’s role in the National Disruption Group complements the role of the Joint Counter Terrorism Teams.

National Disruption Group

The AFP is committed to working with Australian communities and partner agencies to combat violent extremism and the radicalisation of Australians.

As part of funding provided in August 2014 under the Australian Government’s national security package, the AFP has established a number of key capabilities to further strengthen Australia’s response to extremism. This includes the establishment of the AFP-led National Disruption Group (NDG) which consists of a number of capabilities such as a Diversion Team.

The NDG brings together the AFP and its partner agencies to coordinate operational disruption activities nationally and internationally with the aim of countering the enduring threat posed by foreign fighters.

The agencies participating in the NDG alongside the AFP are:

  • Attorney-General’s Department
  • Australian Crime Commission
  • Australian Immigration and Border Protection Portfolio
  • Australian Intelligence Agencies
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Social Services
  • State and territory police

The NDG consolidates the capabilities of participating agencies to prevent, disrupt and prosecute Australian nationals who travel or intend to travel offshore to engage in hostilities and/or undertake terrorism training, as well as those providing support to them.

Diversion Team

The NDG Diversion Team focuses on developing alternatives to prosecution, such as reintegration and rehabilitation, while balancing national security requirements. As part of the Attorney-General’s Department Countering Violent Extremism Intervention Framework, diversion and intervention activities focus on working with vulnerable individuals, particularly young people, to prevent them from committing terrorist-related activity or travelling overseas to fight with a terrorist group.

While research has identified some common factors that may create susceptibility to violent extremism, there is no single pathway. The Australian terrorism environment is seeing younger people come to the attention of authorities for a range of reasons. This may include changes in their behaviour and beliefs that may be indicative of a susceptibility to radicalisation. Quite often these concerns don’t meet the threshold for a criminal investigation but may be indicative of a vulnerability that can be exploited by extremist and criminal groups.

In November 2014, a framework was established to assist people at-risk of disengagement and radicalisation by referring them to state-led intervention programs. The purpose of these programs is to provide services so that people can disengage from violence and reconnect with their family and community before they harm themselves or others. Programs are now running or are under development in all states and territories. The NDG Diversion Team acts as the conduit between Australian Government agencies and the state-led intervention programs. The role of the NDG Diversion Team is to identify, evaluate and assess at-risk individuals and refer them to the various state-led programs.

People are referred to the NDG Diversion Team from a range of entities including members of the community (such as teachers, social workers, health care professionals and concerned citizens through the National Security Hotline), state and territory police services and other Commonwealth and/or state government agencies.

A comprehensive risk and needs analysis is conducted to assess the person’s suitability and recommend strategies for diversion. This may include targeted countering violent extremism strategies to address issues such as identity, social relations and ideology, or more traditional services such as assistance with housing, schooling, employment, and mental health. Through these programs, case managers work with those who have raised concerns about an individual to understand the factors that may have contributed to them being at risk or vulnerable to radicalisation and develop individually tailored case management programs. This process is supported by experts including psychologists and case managers.

The framework relies on a network of government and community partners to implement individualised, early intervention and violence disengagement strategies.  Once a person has been assessed as suitable for diversion and shows a willingness to participate, state or territory coordination representatives meet with the person (and their parents if they are a minor), identify and engage appropriate service providers, connect the individual with the service providers and monitor their progress.

More information

National Security Hotline

Visit the AFP Futures Centre

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

Platypus Online: Read. Discover. Enjoy.