Evaluating efforts to counter violent extremism

Thursday June 20, 15.30 - 17.00

Session 3, Auditorium 3, Eilert Sundt building

Chair: Anna Meier

Paper presentsers

  • Sentencing Outcomes for Terrorism-related Charges in England and Wales - Rachel Monaghan
  • Developmental Evaluation Data for P/CVE - Elena Savoia
  • Using mixed methods data to assess radicalisation pathways and the effectiveness of CVE interventions - Adrian Cherney
  • Evaluating Counter-Terrorism Communications in Government - A Review - Ruth Mair


Sentencing Outcomes for Terrorism-related Charges in England and Wales

Rachel Monaghan, Ulster University

The United Kingdom (UK) continues to face a number of different terrorist threats as evidenced by the 2016 murder of the Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox by a far-right lone-wolf and the 2017 terror attacks in London and Manchester perpetrated by Islamist terrorists.  The UK government’s key counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, involves four inter-related (‘P’) strands, namely Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare that are designed to reduce the UK’s risk from terrorism. The proposed paper is concerned with the Pursue strand, which aims to stop terrorist attacks occurring in the UK and overseas by investigating, detecting, understanding and disrupting terrorist activity including through prosecutions thereby reducing terrorists’ capability. Arrests for terrorism-related offences have been rising steadily in England and Wales and since 9/11 1,043 individuals have been charged according to the Crown Prosecution Service. Of this number 845 (81%) were proceeded against and 716 (85%) found guilty. The proposed paper will explore the sentencing outcomes of those individuals found guilty in terms of sentence length and type and also consider whether differences can be observed with respect to the terrorist threat.

Developmental Evaluation Data for P/CVE

Savoia Elena, Harvard Chan School of Public Health

In this presentation I will describe the use of developmental evaluation to inform the development of P/CVE programs and how such approach was used to inform the implementation of P/CVE activities in the USA. I will present data derived from the use of such approach in assessing the effectiveness of school based interventions aimed at increasing motivational cultural intelligence and online safety behaviors in middle and high school students by applying a cohort design as well as a randomized controlled study design. Data derived from the analysis of over 1,000 study subjects will be discussed. Validity of measures such as the creation of an online safety index to identify subjects at risk, scales of cultural intelligence and empathic awareness will be presented as well as the actual effectiveness of specific interventions (i.e. school-based campaigns and ad hoc trainings). Applicability of results to European countries will be discussed with practical examples of how such approaches and specific study designs are currently being implemented in Sweden as part of a larger study recently initiated and sponsored by the NATO Science for Peace & Security Program.

Using mixed methods data to assess radicalisation pathways and the effectiveness of CVE interventions.

Adrian Cherney, University of Queensland

The use of mixed methods is common in many social science disciplines, but is less so in the field of terrorism studies. Mix methods can be particularly useful when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of case managed CVE interventions such as those delivered by police or correctional authorities. Drawing on research examining the effectiveness of case managed interventions targeting convicted terrorist and at-risk individuals in Australia, this presentation will provide qualitative and quantitative data on radicalisation pathways and disengagement. The paper will present a number of cases to illustrate developmental trajectories, triggers and turning points related to radicalisation and highlight the role of interventions in facilitating disengagement. Individual and group change overtime on these interventions will also be demonstrated. The paper draws on primary data including interviews with intervention clients and case note information. Implications for the evaluation of CVE interventions will be highlighted.

Evaluating Counter-Terrorism Communications in Government – A Review

Ruth Mair, RICU – Home Office, UK

Evaluation in the security and counter-terrorism communications field is an imperfect process due to the difficulties of measuring impact and behaviour change, and identifying and reaching the correct audience for a campaign. 

This review will present a collection of evaluation methods used to assess the effectiveness of Government counter-terrorism communications campaigns, both attributed and unattributed.

The approaches described in this paper utilise proxy measures for impact, triangulation of data sources, and empirical evidence to overcome fundamental issues faced when evaluating counter-terrorism campaigns. These methods have been tested and used effectively on a number of different campaigns. Both the learnings from these evaluations and the methodologies used can have value to other practitioners evaluating work in the field of counter-terrorism.

By feeding insights gained through evaluation back in to counter-terrorism communication programmes, improvements can be made to increase the effectiveness of such programmes and to identify and shape relevant policy.

Evaluation is often the final consideration in counter-terrorism campaign and project planning, particularly when facing complex intangibles such as behaviour-change. The methodologies and shared learnings presented herein will enhance the corpus of evaluation techniques available to practitioners and academics working in this field. 

Published Apr. 23, 2019 1:21 PM - Last modified June 16, 2019 11:07 PM