Prevent is one strand of the UK’s wider counter-terrorism strategy known as CONTEST. The four strands of the CONTEST strategy are:
- Prevent – aims to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism by safeguarding people and communities
- Pursue – concerned with the apprehension and arrest of people suspected of being engaged in the planning, preparation or commissioning of terrorism
- Protect – seeks to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack and reduce our vulnerability to an attack
- Prepare – mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack where an attack cannot be stopped
The purpose of the Prevent strand is to safeguard and support people to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism of any form. Prevent aims to:
- tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism
- safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention, identifying them and offering support
- enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.
For more information about the Prevent strand download the Prevent Strategy.
What is Prevent and what does it do?
Prevent is a service that provides non-compulsory safeguarding support to people who have the final say in accepting support or not.
It is about safeguarding. In the same way, support is provided to those at risk of becoming involved in gangs, drugs, exploitation, or other forms of harm, individuals susceptible to being groomed into terrorism can also be offered support.
Prevent operates within a non-criminal space, intending to pre-empt criminal activity. This ensures the protection of communities and not its criminalisation.
Importantly, those who receive support from Prevent do not receive a criminal record.
What does the Prevent team do?
Community engagement is pivotal. We work closely with the local community and voluntary groups to co-deliver support.
We train and support frontline staff and specified authorities on issues including radicalisation, extremism, terrorism and support mechanisms, so they can recognise when someone may be at risk and can respond appropriately.
We regularly seek to promote discussion and debate. As such, we organise events such as free training, workshops and community Q&A.
Through our Prevent Education Officer, we offer tailored support, guidance and advice to those working in the education sector.
If you would like to book training please contact:
What is radicalisation and what may it look like?
The Prevent strategy defines radicalisation as the process by which someone comes to support terrorism or forms of extremism which lead to terrorism.
Because radicalisation is a process, it is hoped that people like you can intervene in the process to prevent people from harming themselves or others.
There is no single factor that leads someone to become radicalised. Instead, it is often the result of several factors. Some indicators of concern may be:
- Justifying the use of violence to bring about political, social or cultural change. This may mean supporting terrorist acts to bring about change.
- Possessing extreme material or symbols. This could include possessing certain literature, items or clothing.
- Engaging with extreme groups and their messaging. Sometimes the person may try to convince others of that message. They may also believe that violence is the only means to enable this extreme belief to be implemented.
- Use of extreme or hate terms to exclude others or incite violence
- Spending an increasing amount of time online. The person may be sharing or consuming extreme views online.
What is Channel and how does it support Prevent?
Channel is the safeguarding panel that supports Prevent.
It is a programme led by the local authority, that focuses on supporting people at an early stage who are identified as susceptible to being drawn into terrorism. It ensures people are able to receive support before they are exploited by those wanting them to embrace terrorist-related activity.
Channel is a confidential and voluntary process where multi-agency safeguarding professionals meet to discuss support options. These support options encompass an array of different interventions, addressing educational, vocational, mental health, and other vulnerabilities. Ideological support is also common, which may include discussion with credible ideological experts and faith leaders.
For more information about Channel, download the Channel Duty Guidance: Protecting vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism.
How do I make a referral?
You should refer someone to Prevent if you are concerned that they are being radicalised, or you are concerned that they are becoming involved in extremism or terrorism.
After a referral has been received it will follow a process of assessment, contact and support.
The information you provided in your referral form will be assessed.
You will be contacted if further information is required
- The Channel panel will discuss how the referred person should be supported.
- The person who has been referred will provide consent to receive support.
- Bespoke Channel support is provided.
- When the case is closed because there is no further support required, there will be a 6-month and 12-month post-support review held.
Prevent in schools
A large proportion of Prevent referrals both locally and nationally come from schools.
Everyone working in a school has a duty to safeguard children from harm and the Prevent duty is part of that – specifically to safeguard people from the harms of radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism.
Most of the young people that are referred to us are in the early stages of being radicalised. Some will have been watching and possibly sharing violent extremist material online; some might have been in touch with others via internet chatrooms; some may have attended an extremist event in the real world. Many will have conducted further research into their chosen ideology online.
We are able to intervene at an early stage and put in place support plans to help a young person divert from the negative path that they have found themselves on and steer them toward a brighter and more positive future. We do this in partnership with schools and often other agencies, such as social care or charitable organisations.
Every individual is different and the vulnerabilities and circumstances that have led to their referral will be different in each case. For this reason, the support too will be individualised. There is no profile or single pathway to radicalisation – young people from all backgrounds are referred to us.
The types of concerns we see most frequently from young people in Derby city and surrounding areas are:
- far-right extremism (for example, neo-Nazi groups, white supremacists, those purporting Islamophobic or anti-Semitic or holocaust-denial narratives)
- school massacre fixation (young people who seriously threaten to hurt or kill classmates, often influenced by mass killings in the US such as Columbine or the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas)
- so-called Islamist extremism (often inspired by ISIS or Al-Qaeda).
One of the most important ways in which schools can help is by building resilience against potential radicalisation. So that when young people come across extremist messaging, memes and social media posts, they already possess the critical thinking skills to question what they are seeing and hearing.
There are many ways that such resilience can be built into the curriculum, for example, learning about the Equality Act 2010 in PSHE or about the contribution of Black and Asian soldiers during WW2 in history, or simply by understanding different faiths in religious studies classes. There are also opportunities to embed shared values such as democracy in less obvious ways (voting for a sports captain for instance and explaining why this is the fairest system). Many of our schools are already doing excellent work in this area.
There are also opportunities to look at issues such as fake news, online safety, anti-racism, equality, and extremism, in off-timetable ‘drop-down’ days or during tutor time.
For educational sourcing and ideas visit the list of resources.
Special educational needs (SEN)
There is some evidence to suggest that young people with special educational needs (SEN) might be over-represented in the Prevent or even specifically targeted for radicalisation by extremists. Therefore it is important to give all young people the tools they need to be able to recognise and reject extremist views, (particularly online).
For more information for SEN visit the list of resources.
There are also several resources that you may find useful:
- Website: Act - Prevent Radicalisation and Extremism by Acting Early
- Website: Educate against hate
- Website: GOV.UK - Prevent duty guidance
Educational sourcing information and ideas websites
- BBC Bitesize - Fact or fake
- National Literacy Trust - Secondary lesson resources
- Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
- Journey.holocaust - Take Leo's Journey
- GOV.UK - Easy Read: The Equality Act - making equality real
- EqualiTeach - equality training and workshops
- Common Sense Media - age-based media reviews for families
- Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation - A legacy of change
- SINCE 9/11
- TrueTube - Refugee
- ISD - Be Internet Citizens - increase young people’s digital citizenship skills
- Solutions not Sides
- Stand Up! - Education Against Discrimination
Special educational needs (SEN)
- Website: Adeptly - a game-based learning platform
- Website: Education and Training Foundation - Safeguarding resources for working with learners with SEND
- Download (westsussex.gov.uk): Parental Guidance - Safeguarding young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions from extremist ideologies.
Please get in touch if you wish to discuss any of these resources or if you are worried about a young person in your care.