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5.36 Radicalisation


The guidance provides advice on how to manage and respond to concerns of children and young people identified as being vulnerable to and affected by the radicalisation of others.


Channel: Protecting vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism 2015

DfE Prevent Duty Guidance

Association of Directors of Children’s Services – Resources

Educate Against Hate website (HM Government)

Advice For Local Authorities – Safeguarding Children Returning To The UK From Syria (Home Office)

Guidance - Prevent Duty Self-assessment Tool: Further Education


In May 2022 a link was added in relevant guidance to the Prevent Duty Self-assessment tool which is to assist colleges and providers in the further education and skills (FE) sector in England to review their Prevent responsibilities.


Caption: Contents table
  National Guidance and Strategies
  Understanding and Recognising Risks and Vulnerabilities of Radicalisation
  Channel: Referral and Intervention Processes
  Local and National Support


  1. Terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000 is defined as action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person, causes serious damage to property, or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system. The use or threat of terrorism must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause;
  2. Extremism is defined in 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. The definition also includes calls for the death of members of British armed forces, whether in this country or overseas. Extremism can be by violent or non-violent means;
  3. Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups;
  4. 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;
  5. Safeguarding in this context is the process of protecting vulnerable children and young people, whether from crime, other forms of abuse or being drawn into terrorism or extremism;

National Guidance and Strategies

  1. In March 2015, the Government published the Prevent Duty Guidance on the duties within the Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015. The Act places a duty on various specified authorities that all have an important role in Prevent delivery. The specified authorities include local authorities, education providers (across all ages), health sector, Police, and prison and probation services amongst others;
  2. The new legislation builds upon the Prevent Strategy 2011, which aims to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorists, and has three specific strategic objectives:
    • Respond to the IDELOGICAL challenge and the threat faced by the UK from those who promote extremism and seek to radicalise people;
    • Prevent INDIVIDUALS from being radicalised and drawn into terrorism to ensure they are given the appropriate advice and support; and
    • Work with sectors and INSTITUTIONS where there are risks of radicalisation that need to be addressed.
  3. These strategic objectives have become known as the three I’s. The Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015 requires that all specified agencies (including through their commissioned services and services they have licensing or health and safety responsibilities for) will work in partnership to deter, disrupt and prosecute. In the context of safeguarding, to use the powers under the Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004 to safeguard and protect children who may be being radicalised, involved in extremism or terrorism.
  4. Channel: Protecting vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism: A guide for local partnerships was published by HM Government in October 2012 and updated in 2015. The Channel programme is an initiative led by the Police and partners, which operates to provide support to people at risk of being drawn into extremism;
  5. The Channel Guidance identifies a multi-agency approach to protect vulnerable people by:
    • Identifying individuals at risk;
    • Assessing the nature and extent of that risk; and
    • Developing the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.

Understanding and Recognising Risks and Vulnerabilities of Terrorism or Extremism

  1. Children and young people can be drawn into terrorism or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups by many means. Children and young people are vulnerable to exposure to, or involvement with, groups or individuals who advocate terrorism as a means to a political or ideological end. Examples of extremist causes where individuals or groups have used violence or non-violent means to achieve their ends include animal rights, the far right, environmentalists, domestic, single issue activists and international terrorist organisations;

  2. 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 (see Online Safeguarding Procedure and How Social Media is Used to Encourage Travel to Syria and Iraq (DfE / Home Office)) This can put a child or young person at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause Significant Harm;
  3. Most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in extremism. Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as extremism. It is important to consider these factors in order to develop an understanding of the issue. It is also necessary to understand those factors that build resilience and protect individuals from engaging in extremist activity;
  4. It is important to be cautious in assessing these factors to avoid inappropriately labelling or stigmatising individuals because they possess a characteristic or fit a specific profile;
  5. It is vital that all professionals who have contact with vulnerable individuals are able to recognise those vulnerabilities and help to increase safe choices;
  6. It is necessary to remember that extremist behaviour operates on many levels in the absence of protective factors and that individuals largely act within the context of their environment and experiences;
  7. Research shows that indicators of vulnerability can include:
    • Identity Crisis - Distance from cultural / religious heritage and uncomfortable with their place in the society around them;
    • 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;
    • Personal Circumstances - Migration; local community tensions; events affecting country or region of origin; alienation from British values; having a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
    • Unmet Aspirations - Perceptions of injustice; feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
    • Criminality - Experiences of imprisonment; poor resettlement / reintegration; previous involvement with criminal groups.
  8. However, this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of exploitation for the purposes of extremism – individuals may show some, all or none of the vulnerabilities;
  9. The process of radicalisation is different for every individual and can take place over an extended period or within a very short time frame. Given this, it is important that awareness, sensitivity and expertise are developed within all contexts to recognise signs and indications of radicalisation;
  10. 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. This can put a young person at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause Significant Harm;
  11. Potential indicators identified by the Channel Guidance include:
    • Use of inappropriate language;
    • Possession or accessing violent extremist literature;
    • 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.
  12. Annex C of the Channel Duty Guidance 2015 provides the Vulnerability Assessment Framework that Channel Panels will use to guide decision making. It is also a useful tool for agencies to use to guide their assessment and referral decision making processes;
  13. No research has identified a definitive list of indicators which would show that someone is vulnerable to radicalisation to violent extremism. Rather, 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;
  14. Some children may be at risk due to living with or being in direct contact with known extremists or individuals suspected to be involved in the radicalisation process. Such children may be identified by the Police or through MAPPA processes (See Processes for Managing Risk Procedure) or by all agencies through the allegations against people who work with children processes (LADO);
  15. Should it come to a worker’s attention that an individual has been arrested for terrorism, extremism or radicalisation offences, the worker should consider with their agency’s safeguarding lead whether safeguarding measures need to be taken in respect of the family members and connected / influenced individuals of the arrested individual. The Chair of the Channel Panel and Police Channel Co-ordinators will be able to advise on these matters and on wider safeguarding measures (emergency protection or Police protection orders) to reduce vulnerability.

Channel: Referral and Intervention Processes

  1. Like child protection,Channel is a multi-agency safeguarding programme run in every local authority in England and Wales. It works to support vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism and provides a range of support such as mentoring, counselling, assistance with employment etc. Channel is about early intervention to protect vulnerable people from being drawn into committing terrorist-related activity and addresses all types of extremism.
  2. Participation in Channel is voluntary. It is up to an individual, or their parents for children aged 17 and under, to decide whether to take up the support it offers. Channel does not lead to a criminal record.
  3. Staff working with children should use the model below to assist them in identifying and responding to concerns about children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation or being drawn into extremist activity;
  4. Early identification of concerns should result in responses being made through Universal provision (Tier 1) or through targeted interventions (Tier 2). Diagram 1 below, Appropriate, proportionate responses and interventions gives examples of appropriate and proportionate responses at each tier. The headings for the examples follow the four aspects of the Learning together to be safe Toolkit and further guidance and activities can be found in the Learning Together to be Safe Workbook;
  5. In a few cases, an individual may move beyond being vulnerable to extremism to involvement or potential involvement in supporting or following extremist behaviour. Where this is identified as a potential risk, further investigation by the Police will be required, prior to other assessments and interventions;
  6. 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 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;
  7. The Channel Referral process outlined below (diagram 2) should be used to guide the named or designated safeguarding professional in making the referral;
  8. Some children who are at risk of being drawn into extremist activity may pose a risk to others. There must not be a conflict between the welfare needs of the child/young person perpetrator and the victim; agencies have a duty to safeguard both. Many perpetrators/abusers are in need of care and protection themselves; however, they must also be held accountable for their own actions;
  9. 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 / life threatening 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 or imminent to travel to a conflict zone. In this situation, a 999 call should be made.
  10. The Pan-Lancashire Channel Panel Chair is Paul Lee, Head of Operations and Safeguarding (Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council). Meetings are held on a monthly basis. If you have any concerns about someone and would like more advice ring 101/999 if urgent, if not then email Any information, advice or concern will be handled with sensitivity and where possible anonymity will be maintained. Referrals can be made directly to the email inbox by any individual or organisation and will be dealt with discretion.
  11. Reporting online material, which promotes extremism such as illegal or harmful pictures or videos, can be done through the government website (Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism (GOV.UK)). Although professionals should follow the Making a Referral to Children's Social Care Procedure, non professionals may make a report anonymously.

Diagram 1: Appropriate, Proportionate Responses and Interventions

Click here to view Diagram 1: Appropriate, Proportionate Responses and Interventions.

Diagram 2: Channel Referral Process

Click here to view Diagram 2: Channel Referral Process.

  1. Some concerns which are identified may have a security dimension to them. For this reason, it is important that liaison with the Police forms an early part of all investigations;
  2. The named or designated safeguarding professional, in discussion with other professionals (including the local Police Prevent team) as appropriate, will need to determine the most appropriate level and type of support to offer the child and their family:
    • Tier 1 - Universal Responses and Support - Wherever possible the response should be appropriately and proportionately provided from within the normal range of universal provision of the organisation working with other local agencies and partners. Responses could include curriculum provision, additional tutoring or mentoring, additional activities within and out of school, family support;
    • Tier 2 - Targeted Responses and Support - Where a higher level of targeted and multi-agency response is indicated a formal multi-agency assessment should be conducted. The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) may be used with parents/carers’ agreement. Support may come from several agencies and be co-ordinated via Team Around the Child (TAC) meetings. A formal plan, based on the level of need either a CAF or Child in Need Plan should be completed and a lead person nominated (for CIN Plans the lead will be a social worker);
    • Tier 3 - Specialist Support - Where a child is thought to be at risk of significant harm, and/or where investigations need to be carried out (even though parental consent is withheld) a referral to Social Care should be made. However, it should be recognised that concerns of this nature in relation to extremism are most likely to require a Police investigation (as part of Pursue) in the first instance. The multi-agency assessment will involve the Police in the making of decisions about the appropriate response. All cases at this level will be reported to Social Care who would monitor all referrals and make regular reports to the Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership.
  3. For all types of response, where services and agencies are referring directly to specialist services commissioned through ‘Prevent’ initiatives, rather than through the Channel Panel, it is important to notify the local Prevent Co-ordinator of this referral;
  4. For all types of response, a clear plan must be developed and documented to set out how the needs of the child will be met, and who will have responsibility for doing this. Early discussion with either the Prevent Coordinator or officers in the local Prevent team will allow the designated safeguarding professional to decide if a referral to the Channel Panel is required, or if services at tier 1 or 2 are sufficient to manage any risks. The plan will include agreed arrangements for review of progress;
  5. A discussion with the local Prevent team will advise how the referral can be made;
  6. The Channel Panel will discuss each new referral to determine where multi-agency response, co-ordination and review are beneficial. Also at each meeting, all Channel Panel cases will be reviewed to determine if services are effective in safeguarding the child or young person and reducing the risks of radicalisation and extremism. All services, provided at any tier, will have a responsibility to the Channel Panel to regularly report on progress being made. The local Prevent team on behalf of the Channel Panel chair will co-ordinate responses and attendance to the Channel Panel;
  7. Reviews must be carried out at the agreed intervals, or sooner if a change in circumstances indicates this is appropriate. All reviews should be documented appropriately and records retained by services and agencies working with the child or young person. Where a child is being provided services through CAF, CIN, CPP or LAC processes, the review by the Channel Panel will report into the relevant multi-agency processes;
  8. Unless it is deemed appropriate to end the agreed response, each review meeting should agree dates of further reviews, along with the person responsible for convening the review meeting and the people who should be involved in this;
  9. All those involved with the child or young person should continue to monitor the situation, and consider modifying the response if circumstances change. If the risk is perceived to diminish, it may be appropriate to end the response. However, if the risk is perceived to increase, an escalation of the response may be required and may take the case outside of the ‘Prevent’ strand of the CONTEST strategy;
  10. Where the Channel Panel response ends it may be that the child or young person still has outstanding needs being met through CAF, CIN, CPP or YOT processes. These processes should continue to be reviewed until all needs are met. Every case from the Channel Panel that has ended will be reviewed 6-12 months after exiting the process to ensure there are no new risks or intelligence that require a response. Where new risks or intelligence suggest a repeat of concerns the assessment process can be restarted at any point. Agencies where they become aware of new or repeat risks should not wait for the 6-12 month review, and must discuss the concerns immediately with their local Prevent team. The outcome of Channel Panel reviews will be shared with lead professionals in CAF, CIN, CPP & LAC processes.

Local and National Support

If you are concerned about the safety or welfare of a child please contact:

Blackburn with Darwen Children’s Social Care

Lancashire Children’s Social Care

Blackpool Children's Social Care Social Work Team

For Strategic or Policy Support or advice contact Blackburn with Darwen or Burnley Prevent Co-ordinators:

Medina Patel
Prevent Co-ordinator
Community Safety Team
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
Environment, Housing & Neighbourhoods
3rd Floor, Old Town Hall

Tel: 01254 585 263

Rob Grigorjevs
Programme & Projects Co-ordinator
Burnley Borough Council
Burnley Town Hall
Manchester Road
BB11 9SA

Tel: 01282 477112
Mobile: 07854 784 611

For non urgent safeguarding concerns around terrorism, extremism and radicalisation, email the Police Channel Team on

Duty Desk: 01772 412 742 (8am to 6pm weekdays).

Out of Hours: Contact Police on 101 or 999 – ask that the Duty Inspector and Force Incident Manager are made aware and make necessary contact with Counter-Terrorism Branch.

For advice and arrangements for training: Prevent Teams can be contacted on: