Extremism and Radicalisation: How can we spot the warning signs?
The radicalisation of young people can come in all forms, sizes and cultures.
An easy way to look at it from a different angle is to think about a young person you have most contact with – be that pupils, students or colleagues.
Now think about a time when one of them recently confided in you or asked for your help. Perhaps when you have been concerned about them?
What did they do or say that perhaps made you worry about their welfare?
Keeping that in mind, concentrate on the changes in their behaviour that might have given you cause for concern.
The circumstances behind these behaviours may not be related to a safeguarding issue and, taken on their own, they may not be a cause for concern. However, the way we establish whether we should be concerned is to get a broader view and be informed about their context.
Example ‘triggers’ of changes in behaviour could be; Loss, family upheaval, Sexual abuse and even exam pressure, to name just a few.
All of these situations open the individual up to vulnerability and manipulation, which may help clarify why young people find themselves drawn towards terrorism.
Think of someone from your childhood – perhaps a teacher – who had a positive impact on you; perhaps even through a difficult or emotional time in your youth.
Who were they? Did you feel like they understood you? Did they encourage you? Did they treat you like an adult?
When you think of a possible extremist recruiter in this way, from the eyes of a young person, it is easy to see how people are easily targeted when they are young.
The young person starts to feel part of something and the recruiter exploits their lack of connection and increases the disconnect even further.
This is just a quick glimpse into how we can help those most at risk of extremist exploitation. Want to know more?
Take a look at this fantastic free learning package which offers an introduction to preventing vulnerable people from being radicalised. You can access the training at the link below: https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk