What is radicalisation?

Radicalisation involves the exploitation of susceptible people to be drawn into violent extremism by a variety of methods, including grooming, using a persuasive rationale.  The aim is to attract vulnerable individuals, which could be children, young people or adults, to a particular extremist reasoning, inspire new recruits to a cause, embed extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of the cause.  Individual can ‘self-radicalise’ by reading or listening to extremist literature or speakers, but more commonly there is an individual or group is involved, actively grooming others to adopt their views.  Radicalisation is increasingly an on-line activity.

Why is radicalisation a safeguarding issue?

The grooming of adults at risk for the purposes of involvement in violent extremist activity is abuse and professionals and volunteers working with adults at risk should be alert to the warning signs and indicators.  The term ‘adult at risk’ refers to people aged 18 or above who have care and support needs (e.g. elderly and frail due to poor health; has a learning, physical or sensory disability or impairment; misuses substances etc.) and as a result is unable to protect themselves from safeguarding risks.  Radicalisation is usually a process and not a ‘one off ‘ event and could eventually lead an individual to being at risk of harm or even death.

What factors contribute to vulnerability?

There are a number of different factors that can contribute to an individual being vulnerable to being radicalised.  These include:

  • Being exposed to an event or series of traumatic events, either on a personal level, nationally or globally.
  • A recent political or religious conversion.
  • Conflict with family or friends over religious beliefes, lifestyle choices, or extreme political views.
  • Being a victim or witness of race or religious hate crime.
  • Peer pressure to become involved and associated with extremism.
  • Rejection by family, friends, a social group or faith.
  • Withdrawal from a friendship circle.
  • Underachievement.
  • Experience of poverty, disadvantage or social exclusion.
  • Possession of literature relaed to extreme views.
  • Links to criminality.

Having vulnerabilities doesn’t automatically drive someone into terrorism but it can lead to a sense of injustice, isolation and a feeling of not being listened to which can encourage individuals to seek engagement with a cause.  Further information on the factors of vulnerability can be found on the ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) Early website.

Prevent Strategy

The Prevent Strategy was launched in 2007 and seeks to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism and extremism.

It is one strand of the Home Office counter-terrorism strategy known as CONTEST, the others are:

  • Protect:  To strengthen our protection against terrorist attacks
  • Prepare:  Where an attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate against its circumstances
  • Pursue:  To stop terrorist attacks

Prevent aims to reduce the risk we face from terrorism and the Prevent Strategy promotes collaboration and cooperation between organisations in order to support vulnerable individuals.  The objectives, sometimes referred to as the ‘3 i’s’ are:

  • Ideology:  to respond to the idological challenge of terorism and the threat fromm those who promote it;
  • Individuals:  to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice;
  • Institutions:  work with agencies where there are risks of radicalisation that need to be addressed.

The Prevent delivery model is based on rehabilitation, early intervention and tackling the causes of radicalisation.

The Channel Programme is a key element of the Prevent Strategy.  It is a multi-agency approach to protecting people at risk from radicalisation.  Channel is a forum for collaboration between Local Authorities, other statutory partners, the police and the local community.  It is part of early intervention to protect and divert people away from teh risk they face before they are involved in any type of illegal activity.  The Channel processes identifies those most at risk and refers them to a Panel.  For more information, access the Statutory Guidance on Channel.

The Prevent Team in Redbridge is located within the Community Safety Service and can be contacted via Prevent@redbridge.gov.uk or by calling 020 8708 5971.

Making a Referral

If you are concerned that an adult may be at risk of radicalisation, this should initially be raised with your Line Manager or Safeguarding Lead, in accordance with your agency’s individual internal guidance.  Following discussion, if appropriate, a referral should be made to the local Prevent Team via e-mail to Prevent@redbridge.gov.uk and to the London Borough of Redbridge First Contact Team via adults.alert@redbridge.gov.uk.  The Prevent Team are also available to discuss where it is unclear whether there is a safeguarding risk.

Learning and Development Activities

There are a number of different ways in which you can increase your knowledge and understanding of radicalisation and Prevent.

The Home Office provides an elearning module which is free to access following registration:

The Prevent Team also provide training directly and via the Redbridge Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP) or the RedbridgeCVS.  E-mail Prevent@redbridge.gov.uk or call 020 8708 5971/07771 133849 to find out information on the latest training opportunities.