Extremism is defined by the 2011 Prevent strategy 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. Also included in the definition is the call for death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas."
The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or mediums to express views which:
- Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs
- Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts
- Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts
- Foster hatred, which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
Radicalisation refers to the process by which someone comes to support terrorism or violent extremism and, in some cases, to the participation in terrorist groups. It is driven by ideology, and it advocates the support of using violence to meet its goals. The Prevent strategy suggests that radicalisation may occur as people search for identity, meaning and community. It must be remembered that there are no typical 'extremists' or a particular indicator that someone is considering the use of violence to support extremist ideas.
Schools can support their young people by:
- Providing a safe environment for discussing controversial issues and helping young people understand how they can influence and participate in decision making
- Encouraging young people to express their views but also to appreciate the impact their views can have on others
- To encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and to understand that the use of violence to further any cause is criminal
- Creating an understanding of the values on which our society is founded and our system of democratic government to help connect with the Prevent agenda
- Recognising that they can be exposed to extremist influences or prejudiced views, particularly via the internet and other social media and addressing the issues in the same way as other safeguarding strategies are taught
Indicators a young person may be becoming involved in extremism:
- Withdrawing from a normal social interaction or loss of interest in other friends/ activities
- Becoming obsessed by the internet or social networking sites and being secretive about what they are doing
- Becoming uncooperative, disengaged or using provocative behaviour
- Fascination with weapons, chemicals, explosives or extremist events
- Changes in relationships/ withdrawal from family
- Changes in friendship groups (including adult relationships) or a desire to be part of a gang
- Communications with others that suggests identification with a group, cause or ideology.
- Possession of materials or symbols associated with an extremist cause
- Using derogatory language towards another group
- Attempts to recruit others to a group of cause
- Change in behaviour or appearance centred on an ideology, group or cause
- Seeking to recruit/ 'groom' others to extremist ideology
- Possession of violent extremist literature
- Absence patterns or travel plans
- Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage
If you are worried about the welfare of a child or young person, it may be useful to ask the following questions:
- Who is the young person involved with?
- Who are their peers?
- Have there been changes in the young person's behaviour or attitude?
- Are there any other issues that could be the reason behind the changes?
- What could the young person be involved in?
- Is this a child protection issue?
- Who is being affected and who may require a safeguarding response?
What should you do if you're concerned?
Contact the NSPCC help line on 0808 800 5000 or text 88858
See it, Report it - support reporting extremist content online.
Educate Against Hate - prevent