Community reporting of violent extremist activity and involvement in foreign conflict


The first people to suspect or know about someone involved in acts of violent extremism, including planned or actual involvement in overseas conflicts, are often those closest to them: their friends, family and community insiders.

This project, from the University of Huddersfield in partnership with Deakin University in Australia, seeks to build on previous Australian-based research to gain new knowledge about the dynamics and barriers to community reporting in the UK, in order to develop a new, localised, and contextually sensitive understanding of and approaches to community reporting issues. It replicates the Australian study with a significantly increased sample size and extends sampling to include a sub-sample of White British community respondents.

The research methodology and questions seek to understand and assess the experiences and views of those who would consider sharing concerns about ‘intimate’ others with authorities concerning suspected involvement in extremist activity at home and/or in planning to travel abroad to take part in violent conflicts.

The study uses qualitative inquiry, with semi-structured in-depth interviews for community respondents and government key informants. Community and state professional respondent groups are drawn from three major metropolitan conurbations at the forefront of counter-terrorism policy efforts through the Prevent strategy.

Research questions

  • What are the triggers, thresholds, and barriers for when someone would consider reporting?
  • What is the experience of (considering) reporting on an individual who may be involved in violent extremism, from the reporters’ perspectives?
  • What can these insights tell us about how bystander reporting campaigns should be developed, and what approaches might be most successful with particular individuals?


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Principal Investigators

Professor Paul Thomas
Professor Michelle Grossman


University of Huddersfield, UK
Deakin University, Australia