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Radicalisation and prevent

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

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. These 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.

The risk of radicalisation is the product of a number of factors and identifying this risk requires that staff exercise their professional judgement, seeking further advice as necessary. It may be combined with other vulnerabilities or may be the only risk identified.

Prevent is part of the national counter-terrorism strategy and aims to stop people being drawn into or supporting terrorism.

Prevent has a strong link to safeguarding because vulnerable children and adults can be susceptible to radicalisation and recruitment into terrorist organisations.

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 Prevent strand of the strategy focuses on three key areas which are:

  • To respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat from those who promote it
  • To prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support
  • To work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address

Channel is a multi-agency panel of public sector agencies including Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire Constabulary, 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.

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.

Potential indicators include:

  • Use of inappropriate language
  • Possession of violent extremist literature
  • Behavioural changes
  • The expression of extremist views
  • Advocating violent actions and means
  • Association with known extremists
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology

Any member of staff who identifies such concerns, for example as a result of observed behaviour or reports of conversations to suggest the child supports terrorism and/or violent extremism, must report these concerns to the named or designated safeguarding professional in their organisation or agency, who will consider what further action is required.  Please see further details on the Prevent Channel process here.

Concerns about radicalisation and extremism are treated in the same way as other safeguarding issues, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The first step is to submit the Prevent National Referral Form (NRF) to  The form will be forwarded to the local authority safeguarding team and the Prevent policing team for a joint assessment.  A link to the NRF can be found here

Worried about a child – If you are concerned that a child or young person has suffered harm, neglect or abuse, please contact

Portsmouth Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

If a child is at immediate risk of harm, call the Police on 999

What do you need to do as an organisation?

  • 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

Safeguarding Children and Young People Against Radicalisation and Violent Extremism Procedure – available on the HIPS Safeguarding Children Procedures Manual website

Prevent Duty guidance produced by the Home Office

Counter Terrorism Police have launched their new Prevent campaign, Act Early.  The campaign includes the launch of a dedicated police website aimed at the family and friends of potentially vulnerable individuals.  It utilises real stories to help resonate with the target audience and provide an emotional driver.  This poster contains links to the website, and links to useful information that you can all use to support this campaign.

The prevent duty for schools & childcare providers – practical guidance to keep children safe from the risk of radicalisation and extremism