Radicalisation and extremism
Radicalisation is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine the status quo or reject and/or undermine contemporary ideas and expressions of freedom of choice. The threats to children & young people take many forms, not only the high profile incidents of those travelling to countries such as Syria and Iraq to fight, but on a much broader perspective also. The internet, in particular social media, is being used as a channel to promote and engage. Often this promotion glorifies violence, attracting and influencing many people including children and in the extreme cases, radicalising them. Research concludes that children can be trusting and not necessarily appreciate bias that can lead to them being drawn into these groups and adopt these extremist views, and in viewing this shocking and extreme content may become normalised to it.
What is Prevent?
Prevent is about safeguarding people and communities from the threat of terrorism. Prevent is 1 of the 4 elements of CONTEST, the Government's counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
The Prevent strategy:
- Responds to the ideological challenge we face from terrorism and aspects of extremism, and the threat we face from those who promote these views;
- Provides practical help to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support; and
- Works with a wide range of sectors (including education, criminal justice, faith, charities, online and health) where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to deal with.
Prevent covers all forms of terrorism and extremism and some aspects of non-violent extremism.
The Home Office works with local authorities, a wide range of government departments, and community organisations to deliver the Prevent strategy. The police also play a significant role in Prevent, in much the same way as they do when taking a preventative approach to other crimes.
Prevent uses a range of measures to challenge extremism including:
- Supporting people who are at risk of being drawn into terrorist or extremist activity through the Channel process, see the What is Channel section to find out more about this
- Working with and supporting community groups and social enterprise projects who provide services and support to vulnerable people
- Working with faith groups and institutions to assist them in providing support and guidance to people who may be vulnerable; and
- Supporting local schools, local industry and partner agencies through engagement, advice and training.
Preventing extremism in schools and children's services
If you are concerned about extremism in a school or organisation that works with children, or if you think a child might be at risk of extremism, contact th Home Office helpline. Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm (excluding bank holidays).
Telephone 020 7340 7264