The Prevent strategy, published by the Government in 2011, is part of our overall counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. In the Act this has simply been expressed as the need to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.
The 2011 Prevent strategy has three specific strategic objectives:
- respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it;
- prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support;
- work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.
As children grow and become more independent, it is not unusual for them to take risks, explore new things and push boundaries. Teenage years are often a time when young people will be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging, as well as looking for adventure and excitement.
This can mean that they are particularly vulnerable to extremist groups, who may claim to offer answers, as well as identity and a strong social network. Due to the fact that they know young people are vulnerable, extremist groups often target them using the internet and social media to spread their ideology. There have been a number of tragic examples where young people have been misled by extremist groups, with some travelling to Syria and others becoming involved in hate crimes against minority groups.
Every member of staff at Buckler’s Mead Academy is trained to know the signs of a child who is vulnerable and possibly susceptible to becoming radicalised. As much as we educate our children to make the right choices in life it is impossible for us to monitor their decisions and the influences around them when they are outside of the academy. It is therefore imperative that parents and carers are aware of who their children are talking to both online and face to face.
The education secretary, launched a website ‘Educate Against Hate’ designed to provide both parents and teachers practical advice on protecting children from radicalisation and extremism.