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

Prevent is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST which aims to stop 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 working with key sectors and institutions.

Responsible authorities are local authorities, schools, further and higher education, the health sector, prison, probation and the police. 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.

Referrals to Channel are voluntary. If you think that someone may be vulnerable to radicalisation you can make a referral using this form.


If you are concerned about a child, please contact Front Door For Families on 01273 290400, FrontDoorForFamilies@brighton-hove.gov.uk, 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