Radicalisation and Prevent
If a child is in immediate danger please call 999
What it is
Parenting can be a challenging task and maintaining a positive relationship can sometimes be difficult as children grow, develop and seek an identity that may be different from that of their own family. As our children grow up we have to take different steps to ensure their safety.
The internet provides entertainment, connectivity and interaction and children may need to spend a lot of time on the internet. Whilst studying, they use other social media and messaging sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Vine or Whatsapp, these can be useful tools but we need to be aware there are powerful programmes and networks that use this media to reach out to young people to communicate extremist messages.
Terrorist organisations are trying to radicalise and recruit young people through an extensive use of social media and the internet.
Young people may be drawn towards extremist ideologies because:
- They may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging
- They may be driven by the desire for ‘adventure’ and excitement
- They may be driven by a need to raise their self-esteem and promote their ‘street cred’
- They may be drawn to a group or individual who can offer identity, social network and support
- They may be influenced by world events and a sense of grievance resulting in a need to make a difference.
Signs to look out for may include:
- Out of character changes in dress, behaviour and peer relationships
- Secretive behaviour
- Losing interest in friends and activities
- Showing sympathy for extremist causes
- Glorifying violence
- Possessing illegal or extremist literature.
What Is Prevent?
Prevent is a strand of the Government’s Counter Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST). It is about ensuring we all work together to ‘prevent’ children, young people and adults from being drawn into extremist activity, including acts of terrorism. It is about everyone taking responsibility and knowing what to do if they have concerns. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, contains a duty on specific authorities known as the Prevent Duty which commenced in July 2015.
What To Do
Some suggestions that may assist you in keeping children and young people safe against radicalisation and extremism:
- Know where your child is and who they are with
- Know your child’s friends and their families
- Keep lines of communication open, listen to your child and talk to them about their interests
- Encourage them to take up positive activities with local groups that you can trust
- Talk to your child about what they see on the TV or the internet and explain that what they see or read may not be the whole picture
- Allow and encourage debate and questioning on local and world events and help them see different points of view
- Encourage your child to show an interest in the local community and show respect for people from all faiths and backgrounds
- Help your child to understand the dangers of becoming involved in situations about which they may not have the full information
- Teach them that expressing strong views and trying to change things for the better is fine but they should not take violent action against others or support those that do
- Be aware of your child’s online activity and update your own knowledge
- Know what social media and messaging sites your child uses
- Remind your child that people they contact over the internet may be pretending to be someone else or telling them things that are not true
- Explain that anyone who tells them to keep secrets from their family or teachers is likely to be trying to do them harm or put them in danger
- Consider what access your child has to savings accounts or gifts of money from family and friends (you may wish to suggest that gifts are made in kind and not in cash).
If there is a risk of immediate harm or danger to a child or young person, you should contact the Police via 999.
If you are concerned that a young person may become involved in terrorist activity, or an act of terrorism, this should be reported to the National Anti Terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.
Referrals made in relation to safeguarding concerns for children and young people that may be at risk of radicalisation are made in the same way as other safeguarding issues. If you are concerned that a child or young people may be at risk of being radicalised, or being drawn into extremist activity, a referral should be made through to the Barnet MASH team on 020 8359 4066, or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Act Early website shares information and support for people worried about someone they know becoming radicalised.