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Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide

The Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide raises awareness about terrorism and the issue of radicalization to violence. It is intended for first responders, parents, colleagues or friends of persons at-risk.

The guide helps readers better understand this concept, including:

  • the role of the Internet and propaganda,
  • indicators or early warnings of radicalization that may lead to violence, and,
  • signs of terrorist-planning activities.

The guide contains many resources as well as information on how to ask for help when confronted by these behaviours.


Title: Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide

Produced and revised by: National Security Awareness Program, Communications Office and Translation Services of the RCMP/C Division (Quebec). In collaboration with the Counter Terrorism and National Security Committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Counter-Terrorism Management Structure in Quebec.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (2016). All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form or by any means without the authorization of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

We are aware that some of the images contained in the Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide are protected by copyright. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has negotiated the conditions for their use with a number of international news agencies. These images are used only for prevention and education purposes and may not be reproduced by a third party under any circumstances.

This guide contains textual information collected from a variety of open sources. This information was validated by Canadian academics and subject-matter specialists.


CACP word


The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Counter Terrorism & National Security (CACP-CTNS) committee fully supports the Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide and encourages its sharing among law enforcement and partner agencies.

The Guide provides information on indicators and early warning signs of radicalization to violence, as well as information on how individuals can ask for assistance when confronted by behaviours associated to radicalization to violence. The Guide promotes the importance of education, awareness and dialogue for communities and front-line officers in efforts to disengage and prevent radicalization to violence.

The CACP-CTNS committee hopes that the Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide will assist law enforcement personnel and prevention practitioners to better understand the phenomenon of radicalization to violence and how community-based prevention and protection initiatives are necessary. We also hope it will enhance awareness and knowledge about terrorism and extremism in Canada.

---- June 2016 ----

Preface - RCMP Commissioner, Bob Paulson

We live in a country where freedom of speech, freedom of thought and the right to security are regarded as a valuable heritage that must be passed on to the next generations. These freedoms are a fundamental right that our builders have shaped and developed for all Canadians. As a police organization, our role is to protect this right for the future.

The emergence of social media and our global communications environment remind us more than ever of the importance of being vigilant and aware of our surroundings. The virtual removal of geographical boundaries has facilitated the spread of radicalization to violence. What happens thousands of kilometres away is now much closer to us than it seems.

Some people are influenced by the propaganda in the social media and resolve to travel abroad to take part in terrorist activity. This issue, just like that of lone actors and extremists within our boundaries, is of great concern to all law enforcement agencies across the country. Although we could fight endlessly against this threat using a law-enforcement approach, the long-term solution to mitigate unforeseeable threats lies in prevention and citizen engagement.

Better understanding for better prevention

We live in a country where freedom of speech and freedom of thought are regarded as a valuable heritage that must be passed on to the next generations.

Bob PaulsonTerrorism is an intricate question that represents the main threat to national security in Canada. It is essential for everyone to better understand and recognize this phenomenon. In this spirit, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has developed, through its National Security Awareness Program, the Terrorism and Violent Extremism Awareness Guide. This electronic book divided into sections is designed to help increase awareness and understanding of the various issues related to terrorism and violent extremism in Canada.

This document is intended as a reference guide to this still emerging phenomenon in Canada. It contains a wealth of useful information from various sources to help you better understand radicalization leading to violence.

Whether as a first responder or as a parent, colleague or friend of a person at risk, we all have a role to play in preventing radicalization to violence, in protecting our communities and in encouraging community-based prevention and protection initiatives.

Support and cooperation from the families of persons at risk is also invaluable, as relatives are often our only contact with them.

Thanks to targeted support and prevention programs, we shall build together communities that are resistant to radicalization to violence.

Bob Paulson's signature

Bob Paulson
Commissioner - Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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