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8.6 Children and Young People Vulnerable to Violent Extremism

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The Counter Terrorism and Security Act, 2015, created a new general ‘Prevent Duty’ under section 26 (1). ‘A specified authority must in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. Specified authorities within the CTS Act, 2015 include all Local Authorities, Schools, Colleges, Universities, Police, Probation, Prisons, Young offenders’ institutions and the Health sector.


Prevent is one of the four strands of CONTEST, the Government’s Counter Terrorism Strategy.  Safeguarding children and adults who are vulnerable to being radicalised or at risk of being drawn into terrorist-related activity or supporting terrorism is one of the main objectives of the Prevent strategy.  It is about early intervention to protect and divert people away from the risk they face before illegality occurs.


A key element of the Prevent strategy is Channel, the process of identifying and referring a person at risk of radicalisation for early intervention and support. It is a multi-agency approach to protect vulnerable people using collaboration between local authorities, statutory partners (such as education and health organisations, social services, children’s and youth services and offender management services), the police and the local community.  Section 38 of the CTS Act places a ‘Duty to Co-operate’ on all partners of a panel – as far as compatible with the partner’s legal responsibilities in respect of their function.    


Prevent addresses all forms of terrorism (extreme right wing, Al-Qaida or Daesh inspired and associated terrorisms, and single issues etc.).

Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and violent extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups.

The Prevent Duty: Advice for Schools and Childcare Providers


From 1 July 2015 all schools, childcare providers, 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.


The DfE has published departmental advice which requires schools and child care providers to:

  • Assesses the risk of children being drawn into terrorism or supporting terrorism
  • Work in partnership with safeguarding partnership agencies, Prevent Boards/Teams and safeguarding polices
  • Ensure staff training in Prevent awareness
  • Ensure that children are safe from online terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in schools.

Understanding and Recognising Risks and Vulnerabilities of Radicalisation


Children and young people can be drawn into violence or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups by many means.  These can include through the influence of family members or friends and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations or, increasingly, through the internet.


Risk of Radicalisation may be combined with other vulnerabilities. Research shows that indicators of vulnerability can include the following, although as there is no specific profile, this list is not exhaustive:

  1. Identity Crisis - Distance from cultural / religious heritage and uncomfortable with their place in the society around them;
  2. Personal Crisis - Family tensions; sense of isolation; adolescence; low self-esteem; disassociating from existing friendship group and becoming involved with a new and different group of friends; searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging;
  3. Personal Circumstances - Migration; local community tensions; events affecting country or region of origin; alienation from UK values; having a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
  4. Unmet Aspirations - Perceptions of injustice; feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
  5. Criminality - Experiences of imprisonment; poor resettlement / reintegration; previous involvement with criminal groups.

Potential risk indicators include:

  • Use of inappropriate language;
  • Possession of violent extremist literature or accessing extremist websites;
  • Behavioural changes;
  • The expression of extremist views;
  • Advocating violent actions and means
  • Association with known extremists;
  • Articulating support for violent extremist causes or leaders;
  • Using extremist views to explain personal disadvantage;
  • Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations;
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology.

Some children may be at risk due to living with or being in direct contact with known extremists

What to do if you are worried about Radicalisation?


Staff working with children should use their safeguarding partnership. Thresholds to assist them in identifying and responding to concerns about children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation or being drawn into violent extremist activity.


Any member of staff who identifies such concerns, for example as a result of observed behaviour or reports of conversations to suggest the child supports terrorism and/or violent extremism, must report these concerns to the named or designated safeguarding professional in their organisation or agency, who will consider what further action is required.


The named or designated safeguarding professional, in discussion with other professionals (including the local police/ council Prevent team) as appropriate, will need to determine the most appropriate level and type of support to offer the child and their family:

Level 1 - Universal support, advice and information:

Universal services can raise awareness, offer support, provide advice and guidance and link children and families to community support services. Examples are work on anti-violence addressed throughout the curriculum, citizenship programmes, focussed educational programmes.

Level 2 – Early Help:  

Where there are early signs of potential vulnerabilities to radicalisation advice and guidance or simple specialist support from one or two professionals like a health visitor, youth worker, educational support, parenting advice can support the family to prevent vulnerabilities to radicalism. Responses could include additional tutoring or mentoring, additional activities within and out of school, family support; increased adult support, supervision and encouragement and family support or parenting programmes. 

At this stage the practitioner and family should agree together if there is a need for an Early Help plan to co-ordinate a simple plan of support which would ordinarily involve more than two agencies.

Level 3 – Targeted Early Help:

 Where efforts at early levels at of support have not prevented concerns or a higher level of targeted and multi-agency response is indicated, an Early Help Assessment and plan should be agreed with the child/young person and parents. These services will provide a keyworker skilled in supporting families, who will lead the TAF and provide additional intervention to support change. Examples of this kind of service are the Think Family Programme, Integrated Support Teams, Intensive Youth Support, Family Resource Team, Family Outreach workers and Early Support Team.

Level 4  – Children’s Social Care Specialist or Statutory Intervention:

Where there are indicators of risks of radicalisation for child/young person or they are thought to be at risk of significant harm, and/or where investigations need to be carried out, a referral to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub should be made.


The named or designated safeguarding professional should consider whether a situation may be so serious that an emergency response is required. Staff should exercise professional judgement and common sense to identify whether an emergency situation applies; examples in relation to violent extremism are expected to be very rare but would apply when there is information that a violent act is imminent or where weapons or other materials may be in the possession of a young person, another member of their family or within the community. In this situation, a 999 call should be made.


Children and young people at risk of radicalisation will also need to be referred for consideration under the local Channel panel, which works in conjunction with existing safeguarding procedures.

Channel: Referral and Intervention Processes


Channel is the national framework to identify, refer and support vulnerable individuals. It is a multi-agency approach to protect people at risk from radicalisation. Individuals vulnerable to being drawn into terrorist related activities or supporting terrorism can expect to be supported by the ‘Channel’ multi-agency panel. The Channel Panel will:

  • identify individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism;
  • assess the nature and extent of that risk; and
  • Develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned including, for example, interventions such as faith mentors.

The panel is responsible for managing the safeguarding risk which is in line with other multi-agency panels where risk is managed, such as Children and Adult Safeguarding panels and Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).


Since December 2019, there is a single pathway to refer an individual who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism or extremism in Sussex. If concerned , please complete the National Prevent Referral Form and email completed forms to:

For Brighton & Hove referrals:

For East Sussex referrals:

For West Sussex referrals:

The completed Prevent form will go to:

  1. Prevent Policing Team (for initial screening and to consider if suitable to discuss at the Channel Panel);
  2. Front Door For Families (Brighton & Hove)/ SPOA (East Sussex)/ MASH (West Sussex)



Potential indicators include:

  • Use of inappropriate language;
  • Possession of violent extremist literature;
  • Behavioural changes;
  • The expression of extremist views;
  • Advocating violent actions and means;
  • Association with known extremists;
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology.

Interventions and Support

Sussex Police Prevent Team:

Telephone 101 | Ext. 531355



Local Channel Panel Chairs in Brighton & Hove

Nahida Shaikh, Prevent Coordinator, Brighton & Hove City Council

Tel: 01273 290584



Local Channel Panel Chairs in East Sussex

For East Sussex:

Adult Panels; Kellie Clarke

Designated Adult Safeguarding Operations Manager ESCC;

Tel: 01273 482777

Children’s Panels: Donald LINDO

Independent Reviewing Officer Safeguarding Unit ESCC CS

Tel: 01323 466115

Local Channel Panel Chairs in West Sussex

For West Sussex:

Beverly Knight

Better Communities, WSCC

Telephone 0330 222 4223 | Mobile 0789 458 9071



For Crawley - TBC

lscb-logo 01273 481544
wsscb-logo 0330 222 5296
bhlscb-logo 01273 292379

This page is correct as printed on Thursday 30th of June 2022 12:21:15 PM please refer back to this website ( for updates.