Trauma and Violent Extremism: Implications for Interventions

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Research points to the utility of adopting a trauma-informed approach to CVE. While prevalence rates vary across studies, a significant proportion of individuals engaged in secondary and tertiary interventions will have been exposed to trauma(s) during their lives. It is vitally important to avoid securitising the issue of trauma, and moves to consider the mere presence of trauma as an indicator of radicalisation risk, or of terrorist recidivism, should be resisted. However, by adopting a trauma-informed perspective, practitioners are better able to reduce the risk of inadvertently re-traumatising clients who have been exposed to trauma. And, where such trauma is found to have directly or indirectly contributed to engagement or disengagement processes, trauma-informed interventions seem better placed to help individuals heal from trauma in ways that may potentially prevent future acts of violence.

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