The Government has defined extremism 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. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces”.
Children and young people can be radicalised in different ways:
– They can be groomed either online or in person by people seeking to draw them into extremist activity. Older children or young people might be radicalised over the internet or through the influence of their peer network – in this instance their parents might not know about this or feel powerless to stop their child’s radicalisation;
– They can be groomed by family members who hold harmful, extreme beliefs, including parents/carers and siblings who live with the child and/or person(s) who live outside the family home but have an influence over the child’s life;
– They can be exposed to violent, anti-social, extremist imagery, rhetoric and writings which can lead to the development of a distorted world view in which extremist ideology seems reasonable. In this way they are not being individually targeted but are the victims of propaganda which seeks to radicalise.
A common feature of radicalisation is that the child or young person does not recognise the exploitative nature of what is happening and does not see themselves as a victim of grooming or exploitation. Extremists can target and groom impressionable young people through social media and the internet in order to influence their minds in much the same way that sexual predators operate online. Their message can have a powerful impact on someone who’s young and vulnerable; possibly unsure of their path in life, and who may lack confidence.
If you concerned that a child, young person and/or their parents may hold extremist views or are at risk of being radicalised you have a duty to ensure that they receive support to protect them from being drawn into terrorism.
The Prevent leads for Hackney and for the City of London are both situated in the Community Safety Teams and can be contacted as follows: