If you’re in the education sector then you have probably heard about PREVENT. If you haven’t, you’re probably living under a rock! But if you haven’t here’s a rundown on what PREVENT is and why you need to know about it.
The government has developed several strategies, including the prevent duty. CTSA is also known as the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. The act introduced a range of different measures aimed at countering the risk of terrorism and radicalisation. The PREVENT duty is also a statutory requirement for education providers such as higher and further education, as well as anyone who works with vulnerable people.
The prevent strategy is as follows:
- It responds to any challenges someone may face from terrorism and aspects of extremism and the threat someone faces from people who promote those views
- Ensures that people are given advice and support to prevent being drawn into terrorism
- Prevent works with a wide range of sectors (such as education, charities, online and health) where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to be aware of.
So what are extremism and radicalisation?
Currently, the government defines extremism 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. There is a difference between extremism and radicalisation, but the two are often used interchangeably. You can also have domestic and violent extremism.
In this process, vulnerable individual or adult changes their perceptions and beliefs. Due to exposure to extremist influence. The influence could come from online, publications or one on one contact. A radicaliser is an individual who encourages that vulnerable person to develop the same beliefs as them to support terrorism and forms of extremism which will lead to terrorism.
Here are a few ways a vulnerable child or person can become radicalised. But many other risks can happen. With the current rise of social media, extremist beliefs have an easier way to radicalise children. Normalizing extremist views can be the first step. Leading them to see content that is not appropriate for children, as it’s normally graphic and shocking. Additionally, a ‘grooming’ process will take place, in which the vulnerable person is exploited by the radicalisers to form friendships/companionships. Which then draws the person or child away from their normal views and ideology.
Being a practitioner, you have to know how to identify these risks and use your professional judgement to help seek advice if necessary. In addition to this one, other risks could be present as well. Having training is extremely important as well, as there are multiple training channels that will take you through the process of talking about the process of radicalisation, the risks and how to identify it. As well as how you can report it and seek advice.
In some cases, you can determine if someone has been radicalised or is in the process of becoming radicalised by looking at the following factors. But you have to exercise your professional judgement too.
- Identity crisis– They distance themselves from their cultural/religious heritage and are uncomfortable with their place in the society around them.
- Personal crisis– They may have tension within the family. Have a sense of isolation, and low self-esteem, are disassociating from existing friendship groups and becoming involved with a new or different group of friends. Or they’re searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging.
- Personal circumstances– Migration or local community tension. There could be events affecting their country or region of origin. Alienation of UK values.
- Unmet aspirations– They could have feelings and perceptions of injustice, failure, or rejection from community and values.
- Criminality– They could have experienced prison or had previous involvement with criminal groups.
Not all extremism and radicalisation look the same. It could be heavy movement toward the right or left-wing views. Or movement into racial bias groups or movement into religious groups. All of which can lead to harm or criminal activity and terrorism.
So how can you support or report someone you may think is at risk? It is best to seek advice from a manager or directly speak with the learner if you are concerned that they may be at risk. However, if you don’t want to take this route you can get advice from the Action Counters Terrorism website. This can help you by answering any questions you have. It’s not a crime to seek advice; it’s a good idea to do so in order to make sure the person isn’t a danger to themselves or others.
After talking to someone, they may want you to make a referral to Prevent. Referring someone or requesting support from Prevent is also encouraged, and it will not affect the learner’s criminal record. If you wish to refer someone, the process looks like this.
- Your local police force will look at each referral. They check if there is an immediate security threat. They’ll also check if there is a genuine risk of radicalisation.
- If the person isn’t at risk of radicalisation, they are not a case for Prevent. Depending on the circumstance, they may be offered other support, such as referrals to mental health or social services.
- If there is a risk of radicalisation, a panel of experts assesses the referral. The panel consists of local authorities, children’s services, social services, education professionals and mental health care professionals.
- In the event that someone is determined to be at risk, they will be invited to participate in a support programme called Channel. This is voluntary, so a person can choose whether or not they want to take part. The police will manage any risks if a person chooses not to participate in the programme.
This is an intervention service, this is a support programme, as everything is confidential. The panel will work with local partners to develop an appropriate and tailored support package. The Channel panel will monitor and review this package closely and regularly. Some support that could be provided by Channel is Mentoring, mental health support (such as counselling), education or career development support and online safety training for parents.