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Coventry and WarwickshireSafeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual

Prevent Procedure

This chapter was added to the manual in November 2017.


  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Legislative and Policy Framework
  4. Information Sharing and Confidentiality
  5. Identification
  6. Referral
  7. Assessment
  8. Local Support
  9. Appendix 1: Channel
  10. Appendix 2: Assessment Considerations
  11. Appendix 3: Coventry Channel Panel Terms of Reference
  12. Appendix 4: Prevent Referral Form

1. Introduction

The current threat from terrorism in the United Kingdom can involve the exploitation of vulnerable people, including children, young people and vulnerable adults to involve them in terrorism or activity in support of terrorism, this exploitation should be viewed as a safeguarding concern.

This guidance is intended to provide a clear framework for all professionals working with children for whom there are concerns that they are at risk of becoming involved in violent extremist activity.

It includes the link between safeguarding procedures and the Channel programme, and provides a mechanism for supporting those who may be vulnerable to violent extremism by assessing the nature and the extent of the potential risk and, where necessary, providing an appropriate support package.

General safeguarding principles apply to keeping children safe from the risk of radicalisation as set out in the relevant statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children.

2. Definitions

The current UK definition of 'terrorism' is given in the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT 2000).

Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 sets out the interpretation of Terrorism:

S1(1) In this Act "terrorism" means the use or threat of action where:-

  1. The action falls within subsection 2;
  2. The use or threat is designed to influence the government (or an international governmental organisation) or to intimidate the public or a section of the public; and
  3. The use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious (racial) or ideological cause.

Section 2 of the Act sets out that such action would involve serious violence against a person, involves serious damage to a property, endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action, creates a serious risk to health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

'Extremism' is defined in the 2011 Prevent Strategy as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.

'Violent Extremism' is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) as:

"The demonstration of unacceptable behaviour by using any means or medium to express views, which:

  • Encourage, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs;
  • Seek to provoke others to terrorist acts;
  • Encourage other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts;
  • Foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK."

There are a number of offences that can be considered when dealing with violent extremism. They include offences arising through spoken words, creation of tapes and videos of speeches, internet entries, chanting, banners and written notes and publications. The main offences employed to date have been soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.

'Radicalisation' refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups. Radicalisation is usually a process not an event.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Safeguarding Children Boards recognise the government position that the assessed level of threat to the UK from international terrorism is severe. This means a terror attack is highly likely.

The nature of the threat is constantly changing. The most significant external threat at the time of writing was presented by Islamist extremists including Al Qaida and Daesh (ISIS/ISIL). However, the Prevent Duty emphasises that all forms of extremism linked to the definition above are of concern, and this includes seeking to protect children and young people against the messages of all violent extremism linked to a Far Right / Neo Nazi / White Supremacist ideology, Irish Nationalist and Loyalist paramilitary groups, and that linked to Animal Rights movements.

3. Legislative and Policy Framework

The following legislation and policies have provided the framework for this safeguarding protocol:

  • The Children Act 1989;
  • The Children Act 2004;
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children;
  • Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, Department of Health 2000;
  • Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists: A Guide for Local Partnerships, HM Government with Association of Chief Police Officers, 2015;
  • The revised national CONTEST (Counter-Terrorism) Strategy 2011;
  • Recognising and Responding to Radicalisation: considerations for policy and practice through the eyes of street level workers (the RecoRa Institute).

The Prevent Duty was established in July 2015 as part of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and in particular Section 26 which came into force on 1 July 2015. It outlines the duty for specified bodies to have "due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism". Schedule 6 confirms that all schools are covered by the requirements (whether maintained or independent are specified authorities for the purpose of the act).

  • The Prevent Duty states that the requirement to have due regard to the risks of radicalisation to support extremism is part of the wider safeguarding duties of public bodies and should be incorporated within their main resources. Essentially the Prevent Duty is based on the principle that recognising that children, young people and adults can be vulnerable to exploitation and radicalised to support and engage in violent extremism is one part of the safeguarding duties of the local authority – and is therefore part of the overall duty of care.

The key duties of the Duty for the Council are to:

  • Promote local partnerships;
  • Identify local risks;
  • Develop actions to mitigate those risks;
  • Undertake training staff in the organisation to understand the risks and the support that is available;
  • Ensure the safe and effective use of resources e.g. ICT use;
  • Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales - Prevent Duty.

Within Coventry and Warwickshire Prevent multi agency partnership boards have been established to plan and manage responses.

Children's services lead this partnership and are kept informed in relation to risks in the area.

4. Information Sharing and Confidentiality

There is a statutory duty for workers to share information where there are concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a child or vulnerable adult. Numerous pieces of legislation place a power or duty on local authorities to share information safely and actively in specific circumstances including:

  • The Crime and Disorder Act 1998;
  • The Children Act 2004 Sections 10 and 11;
  • The Children Act 1989.

All information sharing must be conducted in accordance with a relevant legal power of duty, and in accordance with the duties and obligations in the following legislation and guidance:

  • The Data Protection Act 2018;
  • General Data Protection Regulations;
  • The Human Rights Act 1998;
  • The Common Law Duty of Confidence;
  • The Caldicott Guardian Principles.

For further detailed guidance, see: Information Sharing Procedure.

5. Identification

There is no such thing as a 'typical extremist' and those involved in extremism come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. Most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremism.

Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as violent extremism. It is important to consider these factors in order to develop an understanding of the issue. It is also necessary to understand those factors that build resilience and protect individuals from engaging in violent extremist activity.

It is important to be cautious in assessing these factors to avoid inappropriately labelling or stigmatising individuals because they possess a characteristic or fit a specific profile. While research has not established a single explanation for the process of radicalisation or the profile of those attracted to extremism, however we can challenge the notion that it is simplistically or intrinsically driven by a religious or political belief system. It is suspected of being a social process influenced by:

  • Background factors to the individual – e.g. family, poverty, low level criminality, isolation;
  • External influences – the social impact of others – family/friends, whether immediate or online;
  • Critical events in people's lives that shake their view as to who they are, what they believe in/belong to e.g. death of family/friends, hate crime, family, turmoil, prison.

When considering risk around extremism it is important to look out for changes (can be sudden or slow) in behaviour and attitudes of those you are concerned about – these might be:

  • Emotional changes: e.g. withdrawn, depressed, aggressive;
  • Physical changes: e.g. are online a lot more, isolated, appearance;
  • Verbal: e.g. judgemental, argumentative, etc.

In assessing the risks around radicalisation it is important to attempt to putting together a holistic picture, and not focussing on one sign in isolation.

It is vital that all professionals who have contact with vulnerable individuals are able to recognise those vulnerabilities and help to increase safe choices.

It is necessary to remember that violent behaviour operates on many levels in the absence of protective factors and that individuals largely act within the context of their environment and experiences (see Appendix 2: Assessment Considerations).

6. Referral

The referral form for making a Prevent referral is attached at the end of this document.

As with other safeguarding issues, where a professional has any concerns that a person or their family may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the organisation's safeguarding lead.

The Safeguarding lead should offer advice and guidance about the appropriateness of making a referral to Children's Social Care and/or undertaking integrated working processes, such as the Common Assessment Framework, to better understand the issue and gather additional information.

If, at any stage, it is felt that the individual poses an immediate danger to themselves or any other person, the police should be called immediately.

If the concerns about an individual are not serious, the Safeguarding Lead / Prevent SPOC may decide that they can be addressed by action within the organisation. In this case, the organisation should take the appropriate action to address any concerns, and review whether the concerns remain after this.

If the Safeguarding Lead consider that the concerns relating to an individual are more significant, and require a multi-agency response, they should:

7. Assessment

CAF / Early Help Assessment remains the primary vehicle for assessing vulnerable young people, including those who may be vulnerable to violent extremist messages: However, a referral should be made to Children's Social Care should the risk be deemed to be high.

Information received from the Channel Team will be used to guide the decision-making process. See Appendix 1: Channel for information about the Channel Process.

Most children and young people do not become involved in violent extremism. Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as violent extremism. Therefore, in many cases interventions identified through the Channel process may not appear to be specific to the threat of radicalisation. For example, they might relate to other needs of the individual such as in respect of mental health support, housing, relationships, offending behaviour or drug and alcohol issues. There may however sometimes be a need for specialist interventions in relation to de-radicalisation and disengagement.

Click here to view the Channel Panel Vulnerability Assessment Framework.

8. Local Support

Locally the following organisations are able to provide additional advice and guidance in relation to safeguarding individuals vulnerable to radicalisation and child who may be at risk through living with, or being in direct contact with known extremists.

  • Anti-terrorist hotline;
  • West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism Unit;
  • Police;
  • Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub;
  • Individual Mentors commissioned by the Channel Panel to work with individuals.

Appendix 1: Channel

Channel is a multi-agency approach, led by the Police, to provide support to individuals who are at risk of being drawn into terrorist related activity.

Click here to view the national Channel Panel guidance issued by the Home Office.

Channel seeks to:

  • Establish an effective multi-agency referral and intervention process to identify vulnerable individuals;
  • Safeguard individuals who might be vulnerable to being radicalised, so that they are not at risk of being drawn into terrorist related activity;
  • Provide early intervention to protect and divert people away from the risks they face and reduce vulnerability.

Individuals who are considered at risk of radicalisation and therefore referred to the Channel Panel, must give informed consent for this. The work of the Channel Panel is transparent to the individual referred. It is important to emphasise that Channel is a safeguarding partnership and does not deal with referrals which are subject to criminal investigations.

It is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them, their families and their communities.

'Any person who is susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors that may lead to the person demonstrating or exhibiting violent extremist behaviour. This will also include violent domestic extremism'.

As a minimum there must be information evidencing a concern that the individual is either moving towards support for terrorism, or an attraction to terrorism or a vulnerability to radicalisation.

The terms of reference and details of the Coventry Channel Panel is outlined below.

Appendix 2: Assessment Considerations

Click here to view Appendix 2: Assessment Considerations.

Appendix 3: Coventry Channel Panel Terms of Reference

Click here to view Appendix 3: Coventry Channel Panel Terms of Reference.

Appendix 4: Prevent Referral Form

Click here to view Appendix 4: Prevent Referral Form

For details of the Prevent and Channel Process in Warwicksire, see the Safe in Warwickshire website.