Prevent and Radicalisation

What is Prevent? What are the indicators of vulnerability to Radicalisation?

Sir Christopher Academy has a statutory duty under The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and the statutory Prevent Guidance 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Extremism is defined as vocal or active opposition to fundamental values of our society, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. Radicalisation is defined as the act or process of encouraging extremist views or actions in others, including forms of extremism leading to terrorism. There are a number of behaviours which may indicate a child is at risk of being radicalised or exposed to extremist views which could include becoming distant or showing loss of interest in friends and activities or possession of materials or symbols associated with an extremist cause.

Staff are expected to be vigilant in protecting pupils from the threat of radicalisation and refer any concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Staff have received appropriate training to ensure they have the knowledge and confidence to identify pupils at risk, challenge extremist ideas and know where and how to refer concerns.

Key Points:

1. Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.

2. Extremism is defined by the 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. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas'.

3. Extremism is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as:

'The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or medium to express views which:

  • Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
  • Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
  • Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts; or
  • Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.'

4. There is no such thing as a "typical extremist": those who become involved in extremist actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.

5. Students may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors. It is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that school staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities.

6. Indicators of vulnerability include:

  • Identity Crisis - the student / pupil is distanced from their cultural / religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society;
  • Personal Crisis - the student / pupil may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of isolation; and low self-esteem; they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends; they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging;
  • Personal Circumstances - migration; local community tensions; and events affecting the student / pupil's country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
  • Un-met Aspirations - the student / pupil may have perceptions of injustice; a feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
  • Experiences of Criminality - which may include involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, and poor resettlement / reintegration;
  • Special Educational Need - students / pupils may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others.

7. However this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.

8. More critical risk factors could include:

  • Being in contact with extremist recruiters;
  • Accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element;
  • Possessing or accessing violent extremist literature;
  • Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage;
  • Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues;
  • Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations;
  • Significant changes to appearance and/or behaviour;
  • Experiencing a high level of social isolation resulting in issues of identity crisis and/or personal crisis.

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