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1.4.13 Safeguarding Individuals Against Radicalisation or Violent Extremism: Practice Guidance

Working Together to Safeguard Children specifies that Local Safeguarding Children Boards, local authorities and their partners should be commissioning and providing services for children who are likely to suffer, or may have suffered significant harm, due to radicalisation and extremism. (Chapter 1, Section 17).

From 1 July 2015 all schools and child care providers must have regard to the 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.

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 terrorists or supporting terrorism.

In addition, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CT and S Act) Sections 36 to 41 set out the duty on local authorities and partners to establish and cooperate with a local Channel programme of ‘Channel panels’ to provide 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 related 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.


Educate Against Hate: (HM Government)

Keeping Children Safe in Education


Working with Adults and Children who are Vulnerable to Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Central Bedfordshire (Central Bedfordshire LSCB)


In October 2017, the Model Flowchart for referral of Children and Young People for Concerns of Radicalisation in Children's Services in Section 3, Referral and Intervention Processes was updated.


  1. Introduction
  2. National Guidance and Strategies
  3. Referral and Intervention Processes
  4. Local Support
  5. Understanding and Recognising Risks and Vulnerabilities of Radicalisation

1. Introduction

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.

“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).

There is no obvious profile of a person likely to become involved in extremism or a single indicator of when a person might move to adopt violence in support of extremist ideas. The process of radicalisation is different for every individual and can take place over an extended period or within a very short time frame.

Three main areas of concern have been identified for initial attention in developing the awareness and understanding of how to recognise and respond to the increasing threat of children/young people being radicalised:

  • Increasing understanding of radicalisation and the various forms it might take, thereby enhancing the skills and abilities to recognise signs and indicators amongst all staff working with children and young people;
  • Identifying a range of interventions - universal, targeted and specialist - and the expertise to apply these proportionately and appropriately;
  • Taking appropriate measures to safeguard the wellbeing of children living with or in direct contact with known extremists.

2. National Guidance and Strategies

Recognising and Responding to Radicalisation: Considerations for policy and practice through the eyes of street level workers

Click here to view RecoRa website


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

The Channel programme is an initiative led by the Police and operates in areas identified as having higher levels of risk, to provide support to those at risk of being drawn into violent extremism. The guidance identifies as good practice the importance of having:

  • A clear referral process incorporating a multi-agency panel;
  • An identified co-ordinator or location of expertise for advice, guidance and support;
  • Information sharing protocols.

For Luton, Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire areas, all enquiries to:

Police Sergeant 1244 David Layton-Scott,
Bedfordshire Police
PO Box 4454

Tel: 01582 473068

3. Referral and Intervention Processes

Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of organisations’ wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. Staff should use their professional judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately, which may include making a referral to the Channel programme or a referral to early help.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (formerly known as the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)) guidance provides a model referral process for children and young people 0 to 18 years (albeit, Channel is available to all), who are vulnerable to radicalisation and/or who may be at risk through living with or being in direct contact with known extremists.

Click here to view Model Flowchart for referral of Children and Young People for Concerns of Radicalisation in Children's Services.

Staff working with children should use this model to assist them in identifying and responding to concerns about children who may be vulnerable to 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. See also Section 5, Understanding and Recognising Risks and Vulnerabilities of Radicalisation.

As set out in the flowchart, the named or designated professional may discuss any such concerns with the local police if, after proper assessment of the concerns raised, the named or designated professional considers further action is required. After consultation with the police and in light of any further information gathered about the child and the family, if it is considered there are grounds for further involvement, a multi-agency assessment meeting (usually involving the child, parents and relevant professionals) should be convened to determine the appropriate response and how this should be delivered.

The aim is to ensure an early identification of children’s vulnerabilities and promote a coordinated response, wherever possible within universal provision (Tier 1) or through targeted interventions (Tier 2) and the Early Help Assessment (EHA) process. The emphasis should be on supporting vulnerable children and young people, rather than informing on or “spotting” those with radical or extreme views.

D2. Appropriate, proportionate responses and interventions contained in the National Police Chiefs’ Council (formerly known as the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)) Guidance gives examples of the range of responses where concerns of radicalisation have been identified.

In exceptional cases, it may be considered that a child or young person is involved or potentially involved in supporting or pursuing extremist behaviour. This may be, for example, where the child is part of a family with known extremists (e.g. people who are currently subject to criminal proceedings or who have been convicted of terrorism related offences). Where this is the case, a referral must be made to Children’s Social Care Services under the Referrals Procedure and the police must be informed. Further investigation by the police will be required, prior to other assessments and interventions.

While the nature of the risk may raise security issues, the process should not be seen as different from dealing with the likelihood of Significant Harm or vulnerability due to the exposure to other influences.

Consideration should be given to the possibility that sharing information about the concerns with the parents may increase the risk to the child and therefore may not be appropriate at the referral stage – see Pan Bedfordshire Practitioner's Guide to Information Sharing to Safeguard Children and Young People.

Consideration should also be given to the need for an emergency response – this will be extremely rare but examples are where there is information that a violent act is imminent or where weapons or other materials may be in the possession of a young person or member of his or her family. In this situation a 999 call must be made.

Where there is involvement as a result of the concerns, any provision of services should be subject to regular reviews until it is deemed appropriate to end the agreed response.

Reporting online material, which promotes extremism such as illegal or harmful pictures or videos, can be done through GOV.UK, Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism. Although professionals should follow Responding to Abuse and Neglect Procedure, Making a Referral, non professionals may make a report anonymously.

4. Local Support

Locally, 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:

For the Luton area, all enquiries to:

Detective Sergeant 5752 Helen BROOKE (Prevent Sergeant)
Bedfordshire Police
PO Box 4454

Tel: 01582 473040

For Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire enquiries to:

Police Sergeant5624 Gareth Coombs (Prevent Sergeant)
Bedfordshire Police
PO Box 4454

Tel: 01582 473073

5. 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. This can put a young person at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause Significant Harm.

The risk of radicalisation is the product of a number of factors and identifying this risk requires that staff exercise their professional judgement, seeking further advice as necessary. It may be combined with other vulnerabilities or may be the only risk identified.

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.