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Signs of Radicalisation & Extremism

For more information on radicalisation and its effect on children, click here.

Knowing the indicators that a child is at risk of or is being radicalised could give a voice to children and prevent acts of extremist violence taking place. Anybody can be radicalised, but being more impressionable makes children and young people more vulnerable.

Children and young people at risk of radicalisation may:

  • Have low self-esteem
  • Be confused about their faith, sense of belonging, or identity
  • Be victims of bullying or discrimination
  • Feel isolated or lonely
  • Be experiencing stress or depression
  • Be going through a transitional period in their life
  • Be angry at other people or the government
  • Feel angry about how they are treated or seen by society

It is very difficult to know at what stage certain views can become dangerous, or if a child or young person is being exploited and manipulated into becoming a part of an extremist group. Signs aren’t always obvious, but indicators that a child or young person is being radicalised may include:

  • Withdrawal from family and friends, or changing circle of friends
  • Hostility towards others
  • Talking as if from a script
  • Being unwilling to discuss their views
  • Increased levels of anger
  • Being secretive, particularly around what they are doing on the internet
  • Using extremist terms to exclude people or incite violence
  • Expressing the values of extremist or terrorist organisations (including political or religious based grievances)
  • Supporting violence and terrorism towards other cultures, nationalities, or religions
  • Writing or creating artwork that promotes extremist values
  • Talking about being a ‘martyr’
  • Possession of extremist literature or other material, or trying to access extremist websites
  • Possession of any material about weapons, explosives, or military training

These signs don’t necessarily mean that a child is being radicalised. Sometimes this can be normal teenage behaviour, or an indicator that something else is going on.

Click here for the Pan-Sussex procedure on Children and Young People Vulnerable to Violent Extremism.

Prevent Duty

The purpose of Prevent is to safeguard vulnerable people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism, by engaging with people who are vulnerable to radicalisation and protecting those who are being targeted by terrorist recruiters. As one part of the Government’s Counter terrorism CONTEST strategy, Prevent sits alongside other work that includes Pursue (stopping terrorist attacks happening in the UK and overseas), Protect (strengthen protection against a terrorist attack in the UK or overseas) and Prepare (mitigate the impact of a terrorist incident if it occurs).

The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. The Prevent strategy addresses all forms of terrorism by responding to the ideological challenge of terrorism, supporting vulnerable people, and enabling those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.

Prevent addresses all forms of terrorism (extreme right wing, Al-Qaida or Daesh inspired and associated terrorisms, single issues etc.).

Further information can be found in the government guidance.

For information about the training requirements from the Prevent Duty, click here.

Making a referral to Channel Panel

Channel is a Multi-Agency Process, which provides support to those who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. Channel uses existing collaboration between partners to support individuals and protect them from being drawn into terrorism or supporting terrorism.  Channel is a statutory duty placed on the local authority and there is a ‘Duty to Co-operate’ on all partners of a panel – as far as it is compatible with the partner’s legal responsibilities in respect of their function.      

Accepting support from Channel is voluntary.  If you think that someone may be vulnerable to radicalisation you can make a referral using the Prevent National Referral Form.

For initial advice and support, please consult with:

  • The Channel Coordinator based at the Safer Communities team in the council at: or call on 01273 291115
  • Educational settings can also contact the Prevent Education Officer at: or call on 01273 293926
  • Or the Local Authority Prevent Lead/ Coordinator: or call 01273 290584 / 07717303292

If you are concerned about a child, please contact Front Door For Families on 01273 290400,, or use their Online Referral Form.

If a child is in immediate danger, you should contact the police by calling 999.

Any worker who believes a crime is being committed, or planned, or is aware of any terrorist activity, should contact Sussex Police Prevent team without delay on 101 ext. 550543