What is Prevent? Prevent is part of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST) that aims to stop people from being exposed and radicalised into all forms of extremist ideologies, which could involve an intent to harm others. Prevent helps people at all ages and it is another form of safeguarding which brings agencies and members of the community together to offer support to a person who is at risk of radicalisation. Prevent does not aim to criminalise people for holding extreme views; instead, it seeks to stop individuals from encouraging or even committing violent activity.
How can you spot the signs? Vulnerable people are often exploited in a similar way to a person being groomed. Promises are made to them of rewards either materially or by providing a sense of belonging to a group that has similar ideas, which can offer empowerment, glory and confidence. There could be a change in character with them becoming withdrawn and isolated. Examples of some signs to look for:
- Low self esteem
- Changes in emotional behaviour
- Changes in routines
- Isolating themselves from groups, spending time alone via social media.
- Expressing feelings that they have no purpose in life and don’t belong
- Fixated on an ideology, belief or subject
- Change in language or use of words
- Closed to new ideas/conversations
- Scripted speech
This is not an exhaustive list for radicalisation and could be linked to other forms of safeguarding vulnerabilities. To consider the possibility of radicalisation as an early safeguarding consideration could offer the individual the support they require.