All education settings are subject to a duty under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CTSA 2015), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.
While it remains rare for children and young people to become involved in terrorist activity, young people can be exposed to terrorist and extremist influences or prejudiced views from an early age, including through the internet and technology.
There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology.Background factors combined with specific influences such as family and friends may contribute to a child’s vulnerability. Similarly, radicalisation can occur through many different methods (such as social media or the internet) and settings (such
as within the home).
Potential indicators which could suggest a child is at risk may include:
- Sudden increase in vulnerability due to social, emotional, cultural or economic factors.
- Argumentative and unwilling to listen to other people’s points of view
- Susceptible to conspiracy theories and feelings of persecution.
- Withdrawal from social activities and peer group
- Changes in friendship groups and appearance
- New-found sense of cultural identity or conversion to a new religion
- Searching for, sharing or uploading extremist material online.
It is possible to protect vulnerable people from extremist ideology and intervene to prevent those at risk of radicalisation being radicalised. As with other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour, which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Staff should use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately which may include the DSL (or deputy) making a Prevent referral.