Child Friendly Leeds

One minute guide: radicalisation and preventing extremism

What is radicalisation

Radicalisation is a safeguarding issue and refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and other forms of extremism leading to terrorism. Whilst no single factor is usually enough to cause someone to join a terrorist organisation, several factors together can create the conditions under which terrorism can occur.

There is no single profile of what an extremist looks like or what might drive someone to become radicalised. Those involved in extremist activity can come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. Radicalisation is a process and the process is different for everyone - it can take place over an extended period or within a very short time frame.

Factors contributing towards radicalisation

It is important to be able to recognise the factors that might contribute towards the radicalisation of an individual. Some of the causes that lead to an individual becoming radicalised are no different to other factors that can lead vulnerable individuals towards concerning activity such as drug misuse, child sexual exploitation, gangs and alcohol abuse. Other factors may include:

  • the need for belonging
  • bereavement
  • looking for a cause or reward
  • mental Health
  • isolation
  • a sense of injustice or grievance
  • access to extremist material online
  • a desire for power, respect or status
  • bullying
  • drug/alcohol misuse

What behaviours might be displayed by someone who is being radicalised

Radicalisation may be identified by an individual exhibiting a change in behaviour or a number of changes in behaviours. These may include some of the following, but remember there may be other underlying reasons for behaviour changes:

  • changes in mood, patterns of behaviour or secretive behaviour
  • possession of violent extremist literature or use of inappropriate language/speech
  • the expression of extremist views or sympathy to their causes
  • seeking to engage or recruit others to extremist ideologies, extreme groups, literature, online social media groups or marches
  • preaching or imposing their views on others
  • isolating themselves from family and friends
  • outbursts of anger
  • change in language or use of words
  • fixation on a new subject or person

The above should not be seen as an exhaustive list, rather an indication of worrying behaviours that could make someone vulnerable.

What should a practitioner do if they have a concern

If as a practitioner you have a concern, you should follow your organisation’s safeguarding policy and remind yourself of this helpful sequence:

Notice - Check - Share.

If you notice a change in an individual that could make them vulnerable to being exploited or radicalised, follow the safeguarding procedures within your organisation. Check your concern with a senior member of staff or designated safeguarding lead and if there is a genuine concern about radicalisation, they should share this with the Prevent Team who could advise you to make a referral to the Channel Programme.

The Prevent Strategy

The Prevent programme is part of the Government's Counter Terrorism Strategy and aims to safeguard people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. The Leeds Prevent Team work together with partnership agencies to stop people becoming involved in or supporting terrorist activity. Under the Prevent Duty all public sector agencies have a responsibility to ensure their staff and volunteers have a good understanding of Prevent and their responsibilities towards individuals, groups or families they are working with. For further information on the Prevent Duty and for information on Prevent training and resources available in Leeds contact the Prevent Team using the details below.

Channel Programme

Channel is a voluntary programme designed to safeguard vulnerable individuals from being drawn into extremist or terrorist behaviour. Channel works in a similar way to existing multi-agency partnerships for vulnerable individuals. Channel is chaired by the local authority and works with multiagency partners to collectively assess the risk to an individual, decide whether an intervention is necessary and work with partners to develop an appropriate support package for each referral.

For further information on Channel contact the Leeds Prevent Team using the following details.

In Leeds if you think someone could be the victim of radicalisation please call the Leeds Prevent Team by telephoning 0113 5350810 or emailing to seek advice or to be provided with a Prevent referral form.

Further information

For further information you can read the national guidance:

You can also read the Leeds Safeguarding Children and Young People from the threat of Violent Extremism content on the Leeds Safeguarding Child Partnership website.

You can also read the Prevent duty guidance in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.

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