Recognising and preventing the radicalisation of young people

Recognising and preventing the radicalisation of young people

News article from August 2, 2017

With the recent terror attacks, there’s been an increasing focus on radicalisation and how we can prevent young people from adopting extreme and dangerous views. We asked our Safeguarding Manager, Daniel Jarrett, for his guidance on radicalisation and the warning signs we can look out for in schools and at home.


According to the Prevent Strategy produced by the UK government, radicalisation refers “to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism”. Alongside this, there are other definitions which are relevant in understanding the prevention of radicalisation:

– Extremism – active or vocal opposition to fundamental British values including, but not confined to, democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

– Terrorism ​- the use or threat of action that is designed to influence a government or an international governmental organisation, or to intimidate the public or sections of the public.

For expanded definitions, please refer to The Terrorism Act 2000 –

Potential Warning Signs

According to the NSPCC, the potential warning signs that a child or young person is being radicalised include:

● isolating themselves from family and friends
● talking as if from a scripted speech
● unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
● a sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
● increased levels of anger
● increased secretiveness, especially around internet use

However, it is also important to note that a child or young person who displays these signs is not necessarily being radicalised and it may be a sign that something else is troubling them.

Radicalisation Intervention and Prevention

The Prevent Strategy was one of the 4 Ps that made up Contest, the UK government’s counter terror strategy: prepare, protect, pursue, prevent. The initial aims of the programme were to prevent vulnerable people becoming radicalised and carrying out terrorist attacks. The Prevent Duty placed a statutory duty on all early years’ providers providers and schools to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

The Channel Programme was introduced to focus on providing support at an early stage to individuals who have been identified as being vulnerable to radicalisation or being drawn into terrorist activity. Referrals to Channel usually go through the local authorities designated Prevent Lead or Channel Police Practitioner. Once the referral has been accepted and consent agreed upon, Channel can offer support around mentoring, anger management, life skills and constructive pursuits.

It is vital that any concerns you may have about a young person, or one of their family members, are discussed with the Police, your local Prevent Team and Children’s Services.

Resources and Useful Links

Channel Duty Guidance ​-

Childline: Worries About The World​ –

Educate Against Hate​ – Provides practical advice and information on protecting children and young people from extremism and radicalisation –

NSPCC Protecting Children from Radicalisation​ – Advice for adults concerned about children being radicalised –

Prevent Tragedies​ – Information and advice to help prevent people getting drawn into violent extremism and terrorism –

UK Government Prevent Duty​ – Further information on the Prevent Duty –

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