Back to

Southeast Asia Network of Civil Society Organisation (SEAN-CSO) developing threat assessment tools for use in rehabilitation from violent extremism

Southeast Asia Network of Civil Society Organisation (SEAN-CSO) developing threat assessment tools for use in rehabilitation from violent extremism

Project Description

Since mid 2016, Prof Barton and A/Prof Vergani have been leading the South East Asian Network of Civil Society Organisations (SEAN-CSO) working against violent extremism initiative in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. This project has been funded, to date, via eight successive annual contracts between Deakin University and the Attorney General’s Department (in 2016 and 2017) and the Department of Home Affairs (in 2018 to 2024). The Network arose as a direct outcome of the 2015 Sydney Countering Violent Extremism Summit, and it has been endorsed by regional governments. The Network receives funding from the Australian Government, and is operated independently by Australia’s Deakin University.

The SEAN-CSO network brings together dozens of regional CSOs and researchers working on P/CVE-related projects. Government representatives of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have been also invited to participate in SEAN-CSO engagements and events, with the aim of fostering positive relationships between CSOs and local governments in the region in the CVE area. SEAN-CSO aims to serve as a central resource for capacity building, information sharing and collaboration, and provides a mechanism for government to work with and support these grassroots actors.

By sharing experiences, developing knowledge and evaluating initiatives, the SEAN-CSO fosters peer-to-peer learning and partnerships, and seeks to improve the quality of C/PVE programs and initiatives. This is intended to enhance the role of CSOs in, and build the capacity of, security and justice systems to address violent extremism.

SEAN-CSO aims to continue to support and equip regional civil society organisations to work against violent extremism with targeted capacity-building. The thematic focus for 2024 is the rehabilitation and reintegration of former extremists with particular attention to correctional facilities and the use of tools for assessing the risk of reoffending. This year’s activities are designed to fortify the network’s existing capabilities while expanding its influence and resources.

What are secondary and tertiary interventions?

CVE programs are typically framed in an analogous fashion to public health programs: focussing on primary interventions with broad communities, secondary interventions with at-risk individuals and groups, often youth, and tertiary interventions designed to heal and rehabilitate.

Tertiary interventions are often clumsily referred to as deradicalization, but this term overlooks the dominant social and behavioural aspects and risks narrowly, and unrealistically, focusing on changing beliefs and ideas. Rehabilitation generally starts with disengaging from harmful social networks and reengaging with healthy and constructive networks of family, friends, and community.

Cognitive deradicalization tends to come much later, and in stages. The key issue is not so much turning away from strong (radical) ideas and beliefs but turning away from the use of violence to achieve social and political change.

The risk posed by the high number of people that are being released from prison in countries like Indonesia and returnees from past and future global jihadist battlegrounds (i.e., Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan) is higher than ever and shows no signs of abating.  For these reasons, we believe that there is urgent need to lift the quality and quantity of P/CVE interventions in Southeast Asia.

Yogyakarta Workshop on Threat Assessment and Rehabilitation

A key activity this year will be a workshop in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in mid-August.  This workshop will focus on capacity building on rehabilitation, reintegration, and use threat assessment tools; networking with regional organisations’ representatives; identification of sub-network conveners to coordinate local activities and discussions.

Project Team

Professor Greg Barton

Project Funding

This project is funded by the Department of Home Affairs.


Looking to partner with Australia's leading social sciences 
and humanities research institute?

If you are interested in partnering or studying with us – we're keen to hear from you.