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Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual

Safeguarding Children and Young people against Radicalisation and Violent Extremism


This chapter contains information on Government strategies to prevent terrorism and violent extremism. It also covers the indicators which can make children and young people vulnerable to radicalisation and violent extremism and explains the different responses available when practitioners have concerns about specific children, young people and families.

From 1 July 2015, all schools and child care providers must have regard for the Prevent duty statutory guidance issued under section 29 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Paragraphs 57-76 of the guidance are concerned specifically with schools and childcare providers[1]. Registered early years childcare providers and registered later years childcare providers are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 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. It applies to a wide range of public-facing bodies which are listed in schedule 6 of the Act as specified authorities in England and Wales, and Scotland. The specified authorities are those judged to have a role in protecting vulnerable children, young people and adults and/or the national security. It covers schools, colleges, universities, health, local authorities, police, and prisons.

The Prevent strategy, published by the Government in 2011, is part of an overall counter-terrorism strategy called CONTEST. The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming radicalised or supporting terrorism.

In addition, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 sets out the duty on local authorities and partners to establish and cooperate with a local Channel programme of 'Channel panels' to provide tailored support for people, children and adults, vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It is essential that Channel panel members, partners to local panels and other professionals ensure that children, young people and adults are protected from harm.

Channel is about ensuring that vulnerable children and adults of any faith, ethnicity or background receive support before their vulnerabilities are exploited by those that would want them to embrace terrorism, and before they become involved in criminal terrorist activity.

[1] Including early years and later years childcare provision in schools that is exempt from registration under the Childcare Act 2006 and those registered under Chapter 2 or 2A of Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006, including childminders. Also those registered under Chapter 3 or 3A of Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006, including childminders.


Providing Early Help Procedure

Making a Referral to Social Care Procedure

Channel / Prevent Referral form (see Documents Library, Report Forms and Templates)


Prevent Strategy

Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales

Prevent duty guidance: for further education institutions in England and Wales

Channel Duty Guidance: Protection vulnerable people from being draw into terrorism

Prevent Duty Toolkit for Local Authorities and Partner Agencies

Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE)

Radicalisation Cases in the Family Courts

Cancelling the passport of a child at risk of radicalisation (GOV.UK)

Radicalisation Key Resources (ADCS)

Educate against Hate

Prevent e-learning package

Guidance: Protecting Children from Radicalisation: the Prevent Duty for Schools and Childcare Providers

The Prevent Duty: Safeguarding Learners Vulnerable to Radicalisation

Prevent Duty Self-Assessment Tool for Schools

Guidance - Prevent Duty Self-assessment Tool: Further Education - self-assessment tool to assist colleges and providers in the further education and skills (FE) sector in England to review their Prevent responsibilities


This chapter was refreshed in May 2024 and links added to additional guidance above. It was also updated in line with local guidance.


  1. Introduction
  2. Definition
  3. Risks
  4. Spotting the Signs
  5. Early Help
  6. Complex Needs and Child Protection
  7. Issues
  8. Support

1. Introduction

The revised Prevent strategy was established in 2011 to form one part of the UK's overarching counter-terrorism strategy known as CONTEST. Working within the non-criminal space, "the purpose of Prevent is at its heart to safeguard and support vulnerable people to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism" (CONTEST 2018:31). In doing so, it aims to:

  • Tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenges of terrorism;
  • Safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention; identifying them and offering support; and
  • Enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.

Following its inception, the Prevent strategy has implemented a duty on specified authorities under Section (s) 26 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act (CTSA) 2015 to, in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Specified authorities listed under schedule 6 of the Act include, but are not limited to: local government; criminal justice; education and child care providers; health and social care; and the police. These authorities are judged to have an integral role in protecting vulnerable people and/or national security. To ensure adherence to the Prevent duty, the Revised Prevent Duty Guidance, and other more specific guidance for specified authorities, has been published and specified authorities are required to have regard to such guidance in the exercise of their duty (CTSA 2015 s29).

Insofar as these statutory requirements make it a legislative duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism, Prevent is about safeguarding and not criminalisation. In the same way support is provided to those at risk of becoming involved in gangs, drugs, exploitation, or other forms of harm, individuals vulnerable to being groomed into violent extremism or terrorism should also be offered support. As such, the focus of Prevent on non-criminal space is integral, ensuring the pre-emption of criminal activity and the protection of both individuals and communities, rather than their criminalisation. To achieve this, Prevent uses early intervention, community engagement and resilience building to encourage individuals and communities to stand up to extremist ideologies and behaviours. Importantly, those who receive support under Prevent do not receive a criminal record.

2. Definition

Radicalisation is defined as "the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism" (HM Government Prevent Strategy, 2011).

"Extremism is 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. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas." (HM Government Prevent Strategy, 2011).

Terrorism is defined as: "the use or threat of action, both in and outside of the UK, designed to influence any international government organisation or to intimidate the public. It must also be for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause" (The Crown Prosecution Service, 2018).

Vulnerability is defined as "the condition of being capable of being injured; difficult to defend; open to moral or ideological attack. Within Prevent, the word describes factors and characteristics associated with being susceptible to radicalisation" (HM Government Prevent Strategy, 2011).

Keeping children safe from these risks is a safeguarding matter and should be approached in the same way as safeguarding children from other risks.

3. Risks

Children and young people can be drawn into violence or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups by many means. These include: through the influence of friends and family members; direct contact with extremist groups and organisations. Online content in particular social media may pose a specific risk in normalising radical views and promoting content that is shocking and extreme; children can be trusting and may not necessarily appreciate bias.

Radicalisation involves "grooming", where the vulnerabilities of a young person are exploited to form an exclusive friendship which draws the young person away from the mainstream and towards radical and extreme ideologies. It is important to note however that Prevent insists on the maintenance of freedom of expression as per CTSA 2015 s31. As such, whilst radical and extreme views are not a risk in themselves, the vulnerabilities and behaviours exhibited as a result of an occupation on the fringes may well be a cause for concern. Subsequently, identifying risks requires practitioners to exercise their professional judgement and to seek further advice as necessary. See Section 8, Support.

Further, recent case evidence indicates that specific demographic groups have been targeted for radicalisation and grooming, which has led to attempts to travel to conflict zones. Where this risk has been identified, children's services should work with the police, schools and other relevant agencies to minimise this risk. In this situation, a number of actions can be implemented to protect the young person including preventing travel to conflict zones. For more information see Cancelling the passport of a child at risk of radicalisation (GOV.UK).

Issues that may indicate a young person is vulnerable to radicalisation, can include:

  • Personal vulnerabilities/grievances – Identity crisis; mental ill health; neurodiversity/special needs/learning disability; isolation/exclusion; racism/discrimination; sense of injustice; searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging; internet; feeling of failure; rejection from community values;
  • External vulnerabilities/grievances – e.g. foreign policy; global events; domestic policy; poverty; internet; inspirational speakers.

4. Spotting the Signs

Those closest to the young person may first notice the following changes of behaviour:

  • General changes of mood, patterns of behaviour, secrecy;
  • Increased online behaviour and/or secrecy;
  • Changes of friends and mode of dress, excluding or being disdainful of certain friends or peers based on aspects of their identity;
  • Use of inappropriate language or use of specialised vocabulary and narratives;
  • Narrow/limited religious or political view;
  • Attendance at certain meetings e.g. rallies and articulating support for particular groups/ideas;
  • "Them" and "us" language/rhetoric;
  • Sudden unexplained foreign travel;
  • Possession of violent extremist literature and symbols;
  • The expression of extremist views;
  • Advocating violent actions and means;
  • Association with known extremists;
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology.
  • Rejection of western policies, democracy and rule of law;
  • Closed to new ideas;
  • Questioning faith and identity.

Many referrals concerning young people are around on-line radicalisation, there is an obvious difference between supporting radical or extreme views, and acting upon them, practitioners should ensure that assessments place behaviour in the family and social context of the young person and include information about the young person's peer group and conduct and behaviour at school. Radical or extreme views is not illegal, but inciting a person to commit an act of terrorism in the name of any belief is in itself an offence. Vocabulary that is not typically used by a child of their age may also warrant further investigation, especially with younger children, this is often the only sign that anything is amiss.

5. Early Help

The radicalisation of a child or young person is most often a gradual process that happens over time. This provides opportunities to intervene and steer a vulnerable young person away from being drawn into terrorist-related activities. The multi agency Channel programme is an early intervention initiative to safeguard and support young people and adults who are identified as vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism at an early stage. It ensures individuals of any age, faith, ethnicity or background receive support before their vulnerabilities are exploited by those wanting them to embrace any criminal terrorist related activity.

In order to achieve the effective safeguarding of vulnerable individuals, s36-41 of the CTSA 2015 sets out a duty on local authorities and partners to establish and cooperate with a local Channel panel. Partners of local panels subject to the provision can be found in Schedule 7 of the CTSA 2015.

Channel is a confidential and voluntary process whereby safeguarding professionals assess the case and discuss the most appropriate support options. As such, individuals have the final say on whether they accept support or not. The support options on offer encompass an array of different interventions, addressing: educational, vocational, mental health and other vulnerabilities tailored to the individual's needs. Ideological support is also common, which may include discussion with credible ideological experts and faith leaders.

Anyone can make a referral, and they are received from a wide range of partners including communities, education, health, youth offending teams, police and children's social care.

Referrals are first screened for suitability through a preliminary assessment by the Police Prevent team. If appropriate, an assessment of the individual's vulnerabilities is made through a Prevent Assessment Framework which is based around three criteria: engagement with a cause, group or ideology; intent to cause harm; and capability to cause harm. If suitable, the case is then discussed at a Channel Panel comprised of relevant partners to decide what support is necessary.

If a practitioner is concerned that a child or young person is being radicalised, exploited or holds damaging and extreme ideologies they should discuss their concerns with the named or designated safeguarding lead in their organisation who can raise concerns to Channel if appropriate.

In most circumstances, consent should be sought prior to making a Channel referral. However, in some instances it may be appropriate to make a referral without seeking the consent of the individual, including when there are issues around: the health of the individual, law enforcement involvement or the protection of the public.

You can also contact the Derbyshire Constabulary Prevent Team on 0300 122 8694. You can also call the national police Prevent advice line 0800 011 3764, in confidence, to share your concerns with our specially trained officers. If it's an emergency, please call 999.

All Prevent referrals should be made through the Derbyshire Constabulary website: Prevent | Derbyshire Constabulary - scroll to the foot of the screen to the button marked “Make a Referral”:.

Channel Email

6. Complex Needs and Child Protection

Where concerns about the impact of radicalisation and extremism indicate that a child or young person is additionally vulnerable and has complex needs or they are at risk of significant harm, a referral should be made to children's social care. (See Making a Referral to Social Care Procedure).

Practitioners, including those working as part of the Channel process, retain the responsibility to ensure that safeguarding concerns are referred to children's social care. In an emergency where immediate action is needed to safeguard a child or young person the police should be contacted on 999.

Common practice is to inform parents that a referral is being made unless it is likely to increase the risk to the child or young person. Experience has shown that parents are key in challenging radical views and extremist behaviour and should be included in interventions unless there are clear reasons why not.

On receipt of concerns about the welfare of children linked to radicalisation and extremism, children's social care will include the Channel Panel as part of the routine enquiries that are made to commence an assessment.

7. Issues

Protecting children and young people from radicalisation and extremism requires careful assessment and collaborative working across agencies is crucial. This ensures the effective safeguarding and welfare of every child, young person and adult. Working collaboratively across agencies as initially concerns may be inconclusive and protecting a child or young person against a potential risk can be dependent on a wider range of factors. Sharing information effectively and keeping the child and young person referred in focus should be the main aim of any interventions and services.

8. Support

The following organisations are able to provide additional advice and guidance in relation to safeguarding individuals vulnerable to radicalisation and children who may be at risk through living with or being in direct contact with known extremists:

Derby City Council Prevent Team
Cohesion and Prevent Manager, Prevent Support Officer and Prevent Education Officer (PEO)
Tel: 07765 222 032

Derbyshire County Council Prevent Team
Senior Community Safety Officer
Tel: 01629 538 494

Derbyshire Constabulary Prevent Team
You can also contact the Prevent Team on 0300 122 8694.
You can also call the national police Prevent advice line 0800 011 3764, in confidence, to share your concerns with our specially trained officers.
If it's an emergency, please call 999.

If you see online material promoting terrorism or extremism, you can report it online.
You can speak to your local policing team or your local council community team about helping run local events about Prevent.

Police Anti-Terrorist Hot Line number: 0800 789 321; or
Derbyshire police: 101 (or for emergencies: call 999).

Report terrorism online via: