What is Prevent?

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 on Radicalisation and Extremism:

  1. Understanding Radicalisation: Radicalisation is the process through which an individual becomes supportive of terrorism and various extremist ideologies, potentially leading to acts of terrorism.

  2. Government Definition of Extremism: As outlined in the Prevent Strategy, extremism is defined as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, which include democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. It also encompasses calls for the death of armed forces members, whether in the UK or abroad.

  3. Crown Prosecution Service Definition of Extremism: The Crown Prosecution Service defines extremism as the demonstration of unacceptable behaviour that includes encouraging, justifying, or glorifying terrorist violence for particular beliefs; provoking others to commit terrorist acts; promoting serious criminal activity or inciting others to engage in such acts; and fostering hatred that could lead to inter-community violence in the UK.

  4. Diverse Backgrounds: Extremists come from various backgrounds and experiences, and it's important to note that not everyone with radical views becomes involved in violent extremist activities.

  5. Factors Leading to Susceptibility: Students may become susceptible to radicalisation due to a combination of social, personal, and environmental factors. Violent extremists often exploit vulnerabilities to create divisions between individuals and their families and communities. It is crucial for school staff to recognise these vulnerabilities.

  6. Indicators of Vulnerability: These indicators include:

    • Identity Crisis: A sense of detachment from cultural or religious heritage and discomfort about one's place in society.
    • Personal Crisis: Family tensions, isolation, low self-esteem, a shift in friendships, and a search for answers related to identity, faith, and belonging.
    • Personal Circumstances: Factors like migration, community tensions, and events in the student's country of origin contributing to grievances, often triggered by personal experiences of racism or discrimination.
    • Unmet Aspirations: Perceptions of injustice, feelings of failure, and rejection of civic life.
    • Experiences of Criminality: Involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, and challenges with resettlement or reintegration.
    • Special Educational Needs: Difficulties in social interaction, empathy, understanding consequences, and awareness of others' motivations.
  7. Not Exhaustive or Deterministic: This list is not exhaustive, and the presence of these factors does not necessarily mean that young people are at risk of radicalisation leading to violent extremism.

  8. Critical Risk Factors: More critical risk factors may include:

    • Contact with Extremist Recruiters
    • Access to Violent Extremist Websites, Especially with Social Networking
    • Possession or Access to Violent Extremist Literature
    • Use of Extremist Narratives to Explain Personal Disadvantage
    • Justification of Violence to Address Societal Issues
    • Efforts to Join Extremist Organisations
    • Significant Changes in Appearance or Behaviour
    • High Level of Social Isolation Leading to Identity and Personal Crises

Understanding these key points and risk factors is essential for recognising and addressing the potential for radicalisation and extremism in educational settings.

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