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What it is

Radicalisation is the process where someone is exploited to adopt extreme political, social or religious ideals and aspirations. It is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups and activity. Terrorism is when someone, or a group of people use acts of violence to create fear in order to further their agenda.

Radicalisation can happen anywhere, by anyone, however one of the most common places is on social media.  You might find that strangers are taking an interest in what you have been messaging or videos you have been watching or made comments on. They may ask about your views on certain things, especially religion, politics or immigration. Someone who is radicalising you might appear to be befriending you, speaking about common likes and dislikes, this may happen to you or someone you know.

Having extreme thoughts or beliefs is not a crime, using unlawful force or threats to support a belief or ideology is a crime.

What to do

Some groups in the UK have been ruled to be illegal because they promoted violence, committed or participated in acts of terrorism, prepared for terrorism, promoted or encouraged terrorism (including glorification of terrorism and terrorist acts) or is otherwise concerned in terrorism.  This is known as proscription, National Action were one such group banned after they glorified in the murder of British Member of Parliament Jo Cox and promoted violence and terrorism. To be a member of, to raise money for or to promote such a group is a criminal offence and can result in someone being convicted and getting a criminal record.  This may affect their employment prospects later in life.  For more information about groups that have been proscribed please see here.

Possessing information for terrorist purposes (this includes having manuals about making explosives, which can be in any form, written, photographic or electronic), dissemination of terrorist publications (distribution, circulation, giving, selling, lending or otherwise making available such publications, in any form), failing to disclose information which a person knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism and repeated viewing of terrorist content online are all criminal acts and you may be prosecuted and sent to prison.

Any kind of terrorism is wrong. 

Is someone you know acting out of character,  changing the way they dress or have a new group of friends while losing contact with existing networks.  Have they been showing sympathy for extremist causes, glorifying violence or possessing extremist literature.  Have you heard them talk about, illegal organisations such as Muslims Against Crusades, ISIS, or other extremist groups such as the English Defence League?  If so, information about who to contact to report a concern is listed below.

If you witness something which makes you think that someone may be involved in preparing for, or involved in terrorist activity, you can report it on-line. Counter Terrorism Policing or Act Campaign, or by calling the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

Or call ChildLine to speak to a counsellor on 0800 1111.

For more information about any of these issues and for further advice visit Childnet or the NSPCC.


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