Extremism and Radicalisation

Standards and Regulations

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (England) 2011:

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:

Relevant Information and Guidance:

Protecting Children from Radicalisation: the Prevent Duty (2015).

Educate Against Hate

See also: Missing Children.

Children and young people can be drawn into violence or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups by many means.

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. This can put a young person at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause significant harm. 

There is no obvious profile of a person likely to become involved in extremism. The process of radicalisation is different for every individual and can take place over an extended period or within a very short time frame.

Radicalisation is the process by which people come to support terrorism and violent extremism and, in some cases, take part in terrorist groups and activities.

The risk of radicalisation is the product of a number of factors and identifying this risk requires you to exercise professional judgement, seeking further advice as necessary. Other indicators may include:

  • Use of inappropriate language;
  • Possession of violent extremist literature;
  • Behavioural changes; increasingly centred around an extremist ideology;
  • The expression of extremist views;
  • Advocating violent actions and means;
  • Association with known extremists;
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology;
  • A change of style of dress or personal appearance to accord with the group;
  • Loss of interest in other friends and activities not associated with the extremist ideology.

The above list is not exhaustive and there may be other indicators that the child or young person is at risk of violent extremism and radicalisation.

If you are concerned about a child in any way you must report these concerns to your Supervising Social Worker and the child's social worker or the Out of Hours support if it won't wait. It will be their responsibility to take the concerns forward through the appropriate channels.

On-line content in particular social media may pose a specific risk in normalising radical views and promoting content that is shocking and extreme; children can be trusting and may not necessarily appreciate bias, which can lead to being drawn into such groups and to adopt their extremist views.

See: Internet, Photographs and Mobile Phones.

Consideration should also be given to the need for an emergency response - this will be extremely rare but examples are where there is information that a violent act is imminent or where weapons or other materials may be in the possession of a young person or member of his or her family. In this situation you should call 999.