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Prevent / Radicalisation

Prevent – Safeguarding Children from Radicalisation

Prevent is one of the key elements of CONTEST, the Government’s counter- terrorism strategy and it aims to stop people from being drawn into terrorist-related activity. Prevent has a strong link to safeguarding because vulnerable children and adults can be susceptible to radicalisation and recruitment into terrorist organisations.

Nationally, there have been cases where extremist groups have attempted to radicalise vulnerable children to hold extreme views. Such views include justifying political, religious, sexist or racist violence, or to steer individuals into a rigid and narrow ideology that is either vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values including embracing diversity and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

While it remains rare for children and young people to become involved in terrorist activity, they can be exposed to terrorist and extremist influences or prejudiced views from a young age. This can include through the influence of family members or friends and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations or, increasingly, through the internet. This can put a young person at risk of being drawn into illegal activity and has the potential to cause significant harm. As with other forms of safeguarding strategies, early intervention is always preferable. All agencies working with children and young people, along with families and communities, play a key role in ensuring young people and their communities are safe from the threat of radicalisation and terrorism.

Definitions: 

  • Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremism leading to terrorism
  • Extremism is defined by Government in the Prevent strategy as: Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. Also included in the definition of extremism are calls for the death of members of our armed forces
  • Terrorism is defined by Government as “The use of violence in order to accomplish political, religious or social objectives”. Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience beyond the immediate victim. Its effectiveness is not in the act itself but the impact on Government and the public

Prevent Duty

The Prevent Duty was introduced as part of the Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015. It came into force on 1 July 2015 and states that in the exercise of our duties, we must have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

In summary, the Duty applies to:

  • Local authorities
  • Other agencies working with vulnerable adults, children and young people where the work is being discharged on behalf of a local authority
  • NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts
  • Higher & Further Education
  • Schools
  • Prison and probation
  • The Police

The Duty is supported by three objectives:

  • Responding to the ideological challenges of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it (ideology);
  • Preventing people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support (individuals); and
  • Working with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address (institutions).

There are two key elements to meeting the Prevent Duty:

  • An assessment of the risk of radicalisation locally
  • A Prevent action plan to address any risks identified for an area

What do you need to do?

  • Make sure that anyone in your organisation who is involved in the delivery of services to local residents has had appropriate training. This will include understanding what radicalisation means, why people may be susceptible to it, how to spot the signs and how to report a concern
  • Review your operational policies and processes to ensure that you do not provide a platform for extremists through allowing them to hire publicly-owned venues or access public resources to disseminate extremist views (including through “our” IT equipment)
  • Integrate the Prevent Duty into your safeguarding policies and practices and make sure that people are aware of these changes
  • Ensure that your organisation is not working with organisations who are engaged in any extremist activity or espouse extremist views
  • Maintain appropriate records to show compliance and provide reports when requested
  • Have effective information sharing procedures in place that are proportionate and comply with the Data Protection Act 1998

Further information:

 The Channel Panel

Channel is a multi-agency panel of public sector agencies including Thames Valley Police, the Clinical Commissioning Groups, Youth Offending Service, Mental Health Trust and the Probation Service. The panel also draws in other representatives on a case-by-case basis when it is relevant to do so.

It is co-chaired by the County Council (a Head of Service in Children’s Services) and Thames Valley Police.

The aim of the panel is to protect and divert individuals away from radicalisation and to do so before they have been drawn into terrorism. In doing so, the intended outcome is that both the individual and the wider community are kept safe.

Individuals referred to the Panel are assessed to see what risk they pose to themselves and to others and a plan is drawn up to support them. Referrals can come from a variety of sources, for examples, schools, the local authority, the community or the police.

Further information:

What to do if you are concerned that a child is at risk of radicalisation?

If you would like to discuss your concern about a child or adult at risk of radicalisation, find out more about what the Channel Panel does or discuss other issues in relation to the Prevent Duty (including finding out what training is available) please contact the Prevent lead for your organisation or refer to the Introduction to Channel for Professionals leaflet (see link above).

If you have concerns about someone you know supporting extremism and acts of terrorism, please let us know:

Concerns about an adult safeguardingadults@buckscc.gov.uk 0800 137 915
Concerns about a child cypfirstresponse@buckscc.gov.uk 0845 460 0001
Outside normal office hours: Ring the Emergency Duty Team on 0800 999 7677

Additional resources for professionals working in the education sector

The Prevent Duty applies to all those in the state, voluntary and independent sectors providing services or out of school activities for children and young people.

To help schools and childcare providers keep children safe from the risk of radicalisation and extremism the DfE has issued practical Prevent Duty advice which complements statutory Prevent Duty guidance.

The DfE launched a dedicated webpage for the education sector, detailing the action the government is taking to prevent extremism in the education and children’s services sectors.

Research has found that 90% of radicalisation happens online. To help teachers understand how this can happen the DfE has issued e-safety guidance ‘How social media is used to encourage travel to Syria and Iraq’. The document describes the techniques extremists use to engage with young people.