Step Together moves to in house delivery by NSW government

Step Together is a helpline and digital support service for the prevention of violent extremism.  Established by the NSW government in 2017, the service provides confidential advice and support to families, friends and community workers via our helpline, website and social channels.  To date, Step Together has been successfully delivered by On the Line, a not for profit counselling provider, and has helped many people to support those closest to them.

On April 1st 2021, we switched to direct delivery by the NSW government, by the Department of Communities and Justice.  We will continue to offer free advice, support, and referrals, and we are not associated with law enforcement.

One change will be that our helpline support workers will have specialist training in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), rather than being more generalist counsellors. The helpline support workers will also now also offer a direct link to voluntarily case work assistance, and other CVE support programs in NSW.  Direct delivery by government also means we can more quickly respond to feedback and continually ensure the service suits the changing needs of communities across NSW. 

Below are some reminders of how our service operates, and how you can get in touch. 

Our Work

When people’s social health needs are not being met, and they’re feeling isolated or like they don’t belong, it can manifest in a number of ways – they may become depressed or act out and become angry. In a very small percentage of cases, people may become interested in an extremist group or ideology, which can offer a sense of belonging, or a perceived “simple” solution to complex personal issues.   

Step Together can help you if you are concerned someone you know may be showing an interest in violent extremism.  We focus on “supporting the supporters”, as you may be the first to notice small changes in people you care about.   People might call us if they notice any, or all, of the following, or they may just have the feeling that things are not quite right:

  • Loneliness, withdrawal or isolation
  • Feelings of helplessness or defeat
  • Increased anger or frustration
  • Showing intense political, ideological or religious interest
  • Reading, watching or listening to violent content
  • Looking at material associated with a violent extremist group online
  • Sympathising, or identifying with, extremist ideology and groups
  • Adhering to an ‘ us versus them’ mentality, often with clear ‘enemies’
  • Using confrontational language
  • Arguing with those around them based on their new ideas or behaviour

If you’re worried, you can help just by listening without judgement, and reaching out for further support.  Step Together helpline support workers can assist you by:

  • Listening to your concerns:  Our helpline support workers can talk through the issues, without you being worried about seeming paranoid. We can ask the questions to help you get to the bottom of what’s going on for the person of concern
  • Enabling people as carers:  We help suggest ways to keep the conversation open, without judgment.  It is common, when talking about extremism, for people to be scared of the topic and therefore not acknowledge it may be impacting someone they care about.  This can further drive the concerns into the dark and towards people who might be aiming to groom or recruit others  
  • Providing referrals: We can suggest services and organisations where someone can get help within their community.  This could include programs or support from religious groups, youth groups,  employment organisations, or specialist case workers – all sorts of possible options for people to become more connected with positive community networks

Get in touch

The number remains 1800 875 204, but our service hours have changed – we now operate 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.  Call us if you’re concerned, or if you just have questions about our service. We also have a new web address: www.steptogether.nsw.gov.au, and you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @steptogethernsw

If you work for a community organisation, we are available to meet with you or present to your staff – we’ll provide a free service overview and details of other NSW CVE support pathways, as well establish referral points for your organisation: just email steptogether@justice.nsw.gov.au and we’ll be in touch.

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