Prevent Duty – Safeguarding and Supporting those Vulnerable to Radicalisation

We published a safeguarding quiz in which one of the questions asked - What is the term ‘Prevent’ in reference to? Interestingly 40.4% of all respondents did not know the answer to this question. In response we wrote this blog to provide a better understanding of Prevent Duty in education, and why it is so important for the safeguarding and protection of children and young people, as well as training courses we offer on Prevent Duty.


What is Prevent Duty?

Prevent Duty is about safeguarding and supporting those vulnerable to radicalisation. All staff working within an educational setting have a statutory duty, as specified under section 26 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, to have due regard for the prevention of terrorism, to identify vulnerable children and prevent them from being drawn into terrorism.

Over time the UK (United Kingdom) has become a more multicultural society with over 300 languages spoken in British schools today. Unfortunately to some groups and individuals, the growth of a diverse culture is not beneficial. There are those who are opposed to multiculturalism, including those with different religions and ethnicities. Thus, prevent was introduced, to protect people and to try and help those who have been affected by extremism.

The Home Office’s updated counter-terrorism strategy states that through Prevent, the government, local authorities, police, and communities will continue to safeguard and support vulnerable people from the risk of being drawn into terrorism.

For schools and colleges to fulfil the Prevent duty, it is essential that staff can identify children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation and know what to do when they are identified.

Recognise the Government counter terrorism strategy and Prevent Duty.

CONTEST is the government’s counter-terrorism strategy. CONTEST was first developed by the Home Office in 2003, and it has been revised several times since, with the latest revision in June 2018.

The strategy has four strands.

  1. Prevent - Safeguard people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
  2. Pursue - Stop terrorist attacks happening in the UK and overseas.
  3. Protect - Strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack in the UK or overseas.
  4. Prepare - Mitigate the impact of a terrorist incident if it occurs.

The aim of the strategy is to “reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from terrorism so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.”

Important terminology

DUE REGARD: Authorities should place an appropriate amount of weight on the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism when they consider all the other factors relevant to how they carry out their usual functions.

EXTREMISM: Vocal or active opposition to fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This also includes calling for the death of members of the armed forces.

TERRORISM: Is an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system. The use or threat 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.

RADICALISATION: The process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups. Radicalisation can be a short process, but it can also occur gradually over a period of years.

What Prevent Duty Means for Schools?

This ‘duty’ enables schools to embed safeguarding measures against radicalisation within their standard safeguarding policies, and they will also be inspected on their compliance with this duty.

The 3 main objectives of Prevent Duty.

  1. Respond to the ideological challenge - A fundamental part of Prevent is to challenge the ideology that supports terrorism and disrupt the ability of terrorists to promote this ideology.
  2. Protect and prevent vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism - Radicalisation is usually a process in which it is possible to intervene.
  3. Work with sectors and institutions - Support sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation. Priority areas include education, faith, health, criminal justice & charities.

Schools need to be aware that they have a responsibility to establish robust policies, work in partnership to ensure safeguarding arrangements, enable students to develop an understanding of the risk of radicalisation and to build resilience.

The statutory guidance makes clear that educational establishments are expected to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology.

Only in February 2021 a teenage neo-Nazi group leader became one of Britain's youngest convicted terrorists, he was aged just 13 when he began gathering terrorist material.

The Potential Path to Radicalisation

It is important to understand the groundwork that a terrorist attack like 9/11, Al Qaeda or the Jo Cox murder entails. The planning, recruitment, taking advantage of vulnerable people, the sharing of ideology, radicalisation and fundraising all contribute to the demonstration of extremism.

There are certain vulnerabilities or factors that can make an individual more susceptible to extremist messages. They could be an individual struggling with their sense of identity, having uncertainty about their identity, culture, faith or lack a sense of belonging, and could also feel isolated or alienated. Local factors could include local tensions or anger at the government and government policies. There are also personal circumstances to consider such as past traumatic events or negative family dynamics.

Ideology plays a huge role in radicalisation; often underpinning the process is an idea, ideology or set of beliefs that appears credible and appealing. There can also be external radicalising influences either physical or virtual that encourage others to develop or adopt certain beliefs. Or it could be the absence of protective factors meaning that there is no positive influence in a young person’s life that can intervene.

It is therefore essential that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children and young people at risk of being drawn into terrorism and know where and how to refer children and young people for further help.

One Team Logic’s Prevent Duty in Education Training – Your Role within the Prevent Strategy

The Prevent Duty in Education is CPD accredited and aimed at all staff working within an educational setting. You have a duty, as specified under section 26 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, to identify vulnerable children and prevent them from being drawn into terrorism. This course will equip you with the necessary understanding of your duty, the risk to children and provide you with relevant resources and support to fulfil your role and protect those exposed to extremism.

What Will You Gain from The Course?

Learning Outcome

To demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the risk of radicalisation in your area. Provide you with the knowledge and resources to help protect children from being drawn into extremism and terrorism.

Key Objectives

  • Recognise the Government Counter Terrorism Strategy and Prevent Duty
  • Identify the risk factors and safeguarding concerns associated with radicalisation
  • Describe actions to be considered by your educational establishment to protect children from extremism and radicalisation

The content of our courses has been specially designed in line with safeguarding best practice, emerging themes, and trends. Benefits include ensuring compliance with the latest statutory guidance for your setting, provides you with the skills and confidence to undertake all aspects of your safeguarding role in school and enabling you to develop and improve your safeguarding practice and keep children and young people safe more effectively. This training will provide you with an in-depth understanding relevant to your role with practical advice and a real understanding of how safeguarding and child protection should work within your organisation.

Find out more information on our Prevent Duty Training Course.

You can also click to see the other Safeguarding Training Courses we offer.

Posted Date

16th April 2021

Georgia Latief
Marketing Content Manager

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