PREVENT Awareness Training
Schools & Colleges Version
Accessibility Script 25th October 2018
Prevent Awareness Online Training
This e-learning, developed by HM Government, is an introduction into the risks of radicalisation and the role that professionals and practitioners can play in supporting those at risk.
For many in the Public Sector, completing this training will meet the Prevent Duty requirement, so they are better prepared to safeguard vulnerable people from being radicalised to supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves – whatever form of terrorism they are being drawn to.
This training was launched in 2016 and has been updated in Summer of 2018.
It was developed through consultation with a range of individuals and organisations, including teachers, local authority officials, community-based groups, youth workers and health practitioners.
You have accessed the version related to those working across Local Authority sector.
Other sectors covered include Education, Mental Health, Prisons and Probation Services. If these are more relevant to your job role, please select the appropriate sector from the welcome screen and then once again access this script for screen readers.
We’ve tried to make this training engaging by using an interactive mix of video, and screen based exercises.
Video scripts will be supplied here as text and any exercises will use descriptors of the activity and base outcomes on the most popular selections from other users accessing the training.
To start with, some colleagues give an overview (on video) of their understanding and experiences of working with Prevent:
Users are then asked to consider why they are taking part in this training.
There are four options. Think about which one might relate to you.
The overriding objective of Prevent is to safeguard vulnerable people from being radicalised to commit terrorist-related violence before any such crime is committed, and often it’s hard to see how we as individuals can make a difference in this space.
However, radicalisation is comparable to other forms of exploitation; it is therefore a safeguarding issue relevant to staff working across the public sector, who are well-placed to identify individuals who may be groomed into criminal activity.
Safeguarding against that risk can draw on the same principles as other initiatives designed to protect vulnerable people from harm, such as physical abuse.
As in those situations, you need to feel confident that you can recognise the signs of someone being exploited to radicalisation, understand the network of support available to that person, and share concerns in the correct manner
Prevent isn’t something that works if people just go through the motions: Each Prevent case is as unique as the person it’s trying to safeguard from terrorism-related criminal activity.
And this is an excellent start point to check your concerns and understand what the correct, proportionate response might be.
You will see that what you are already doing with regard to safeguarding is applicable to the Prevent duty, so making a difference in this space should be fairly straightforward.
And this introductory training provides you with an awareness of radicalisation, how it works, and crucially in this instance, what it might look like.
The Prevent Duty applies across the public sector, and it is crucial that those who have one-to-one time with vulnerable individuals understand that they may be the ones who will be the first to notice when that student is potentially at risk.
This package will meet you Prevent Training needs, and will call on practices and procedures that you are already using as part of your wider safeguarding responsibilities, so it may be a useful refresher for many types of referrals.
PART ONE: WHAT DOES RADICALISATION LOOK LIKE?
Radicalisation is the name given to the process that moves a person to legitimise their support or use of violence.
It’s where terrorism begins, and where the work we do today will be focused on.
But what does it look like?
Users are given six images to consider and asked to select two that resonate with them or they feel they have an emotional reaction to.
The scenes depicted are:
In all these cases, the user is told that context is key to understanding what we are actually looking at.
All the images could be representing radicalisation but they could also be perfectly innocent – e.g. someone looking at Far Right imagery online for a project or to get a better understanding of what’s happening in the world at large.
Similarly, the image of travel documents – This might represent a concern if someone is thinking of travelling to an area of conflict, however context here is very important.
In such cases the motivation for travel is often well-intentioned, but often misguided, and very dangerous to the individual. Prevent could help by introducing them to someone who could challenge the reason for travel and direct them to routes offering humanitarian aid without putting themselves at risk.
A video helps explain things in more detail:
VIDEO – INTRODUCTION TO PREVENT:
|It’s important to have the full picture.
Given the right context, all the images from the exercise could be representing signs of radicalisation; which means they could be representing terrorism itself.
Because terrorism – and this is especially important with regard to this training – isn’t just the attack.
The attack is like the tip of an iceberg; the part above the surface that we see. But just like that tip, it’s supported by a greater mass below the surface: Hidden activity that builds and builds, leading up to that violence.
That might include criminal acts like finding somewhere to target; getting weapons; raising funds…
All of that activity is terrorism.
Right down the bottom, in the dark waters, most terrorism starts with a vulnerable person becoming attracted to individuals, groups, or causes. New ways of thinking driven by those who want to exploit that person’s trust; who focus in on that person’s grievance or desire, and say they have an apparent means to address it.
The promote ideologies that go against our shared values; that encourage intolerance and even glorify acts of violence.
Those ideologies might claim political views or distort religion to draw vulnerable people in. But whatever that pretence, the objective is the same: to incite someone to support terrorism or perhaps become a terrorist themselves.
That might start with the lure of belonging; a promise of an increased status… the chance to impress their friends or family; or satisfy a need for excitement and purpose.
Because often those vulnerable to radicalisation feel disillusioned; they are seeking answers, or that chance to re-invent or prove themselves.
And it’s their very willingness for change which means they rarely see that the direction they are heading in, could result them with being charged with a terrorism-related offence.
But we can stop that. We can prevent being radicalised.
If you or your colleagues recognise when someone is feeling especially isolated or lost, professionals can work together to listen to that person and offer them solutions; Preventing them feeling such a huge sense of frustration or injustice that they entertain the idea of causing harm to themselves or others.
And often it’s as simple as the right person having a conversation with them, putting forward a different viewpoint. Allowing them to properly explore their feelings and true motivations, whatever type of extremism they are being drawn to.
And this happens way down at the bottom of the iceberg.
Where Prevent sits; working to “prevent people from supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves;” and where you can make a huge difference in safeguarding those who may be radicalised to ultimately commit this terrible crime.
PART TWO: BEHAVIOURS THAT CAUSE CONCERN
We’ll now start to make this more relevant to you.
Think about the members of the public you support through your job role.
Think about who they are.
When, how and where you come into contact with them.
Now think about whether there has been a time when one of them confided in you, or asked for your help.
Or perhaps it was a workmate or colleague who came to you for advice.
Or when you have been concerned about them.
What did they do or say that perhaps made you worry about their welfare?
We’re now going to concentrate on those changes in behaviour in someone that might give you concern.
Don’t worry about what might be driving those behaviours, please consider the following situations and think about which ones you’d expect to notice, or may have noticed in the past. Which are the most likely?
ASKING INAPPROPRIATE QUESTIONS
DECLINE IN APPEARANCE
BECOMING DETACHED OR WITHDRAWN
SIGNS OF STRESS
ISOLATION FROM FRIENDS AND/OR FAMILY
FIXATED ON ONE TOPIC OF CONVERSATION
QUICK TO ANGER
UNHEALTHY USE OF INTERNET
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.
The way we establish that is to get a broader view, and be informed about their context.
What do you think is most likely to be driving those changes in behaviour?
Below are 12 potential reasons that have been put forward by front line professionals that have engaged in Prevent training
Which have come to your attention in your professional experience?
SENSE OF GRIEVANCE OR INJUSTICE
DRUGS & ALCOHOL
LOW SELF ESTEEM
STIGMA & DISCRIMINATION
Most people in this exercise say they have not come across Radicalisation as a reason for changes in behaviour in someone.
Compared to drivers like family upheaval, peer pressure, or drug or alcohol abuse, radicalisation is far less likely to be behind concerning changes in behaviour we may notice.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be mindful of it, especially as radicalisation can elicit the same behaviours recognised earlier like misuse of the internet, signs of stress, or isolation from friends.
So, how do we explore what’s behind those behaviours, without being counterproductive to our overall safeguarding duty?
PART THREE: RADICALISATION
The process of radicalisation feeds on emotions.
So the underlying reasons why someone gets involved and stays involved in the process are familiar to all of us…
This may help you to begin to understand why people can become prepared to acts in extreme ways for people or things in their lives they feel strongly about.
One of the unique features of such extremist groups is that they can speak directly to vulnerabilities people may experience at times in their lives. This often involves members of such groups actively seeking to recruit individuals in person either face-to-face or online.
A video of interviews with professionals explains this in more detail.
We’re now going to hear a story, based on true events, of someone who was vulnerable to radicalisation.
Listen out for behaviours or circumstances that give you cause for concern.
In the exercise there are two choices to work with:
One is where a man (21 years old) has the potential to be drawn to the ideology of the Far Right.
The other follows a young woman (17 years old) drawn to Islamist Terrorism overseas.
For the purposes of this transcript, we have selected to work with the case of the young woman. However you will have a chance to hear the case of the young man at the end of this section.
Below are the concerning behaviours that you registered while watching the case study – and the context for that concern can be seen by clicking on any one of them.
Below are the concerning factors and behaviours in the case study – and the context for each concern.
|Living with abuse
|The exact nature at the hands of her father is not clear, but it seems there has been abusive behaviour in the home. Amina would find solace or escape from this with her faith and grandmother.
|Loss||Amina loses an important figure in her life following the death of her grandmother.
She also experiences periods of absence from her mother, and being ostracised from her peer group at school.
All such loss leads her to increased isolation.
|Change in Familial Role||Circumstances are leading Amina to take on responsibilities in the home that many adolescents her age would not be exposed to.
These are particularly prevalent in taking care of her younger sister, both practically and emotionally.
|There is clearly a rift between Amina’s mother and father – we are told of the parents arguing, and the suggestion of abuse.
|Not only is Amina on the receiving end of abuse at home, but is bullied at school.
|Exposure to Poverty
|The exact drivers for it are not clear, but there are references in Amina’s story – particularly around clothing and accessories – that suggest her welfare is being affected by lack of available finances.
|Feeling Socially Excluded||Amina refers to herself at “a ghost” at school.
It is suggested that her social interaction is replaced with activity online.
|Unhealthy Use of the Internet
|The internet is Amina’s means of introduction to radicalisers, suggesting that her use of it is furtive and unchecked, in the safe space of her room.
|Exposure to propaganda and extremist material
|It appears that Amina is shown propaganda online, and this is taken to the next level when she attends a meeting and is shown violent, extreme content.
|Attending Meetings||Amina is introduced to Majid who takes her to a meeting where she appears to be exposed to extremist material and is emotionally manipulated.
|Intention to Travel
|Amina is driven by the desire to a land where a group claim to be establishing a Muslim caliphate, seemingly unaware of the realities of life in that country, or the legal implications of going there.
It is important we understand what drives behavioural change that causes us concern. In this case, the following circumstances have isolated Amina, which puts her at risk.
|The death of Amina’s grandmother leaves a hole in her family life, and there are occasions where her mother is absent.
|There is reference to abuse from Amina’s father.|
|This can be traced from the death of the grandmother; to paternal fighting; and the mother leaving the home.
|There is evidence to suggest that Amina and her sister are living in a degree of poverty.
|LOW SELF ESTEEM
|Amina is bullied at school and excluded from her peer group.|
|SENSE OF GRIEVANCE OR INJUSTICE
|Amina assimilates her own feelings of “anguish” to those in a conflict zone and feels “ashamed” by not working to resolve issues out there.|
|GROUP MEMBERSHIP||While online relationships are formed, this network is extended to those who take her to the meeting, and offer to travel overseas.
This exercise hopefully illustrated that the behaviours we might expect from a person being radicalised are not as unpredictable or unrecognisable as we might have imagined.
It’s therefore likely that you would notice many signs of radicalisation as part of your day to day job.
But this is a complex and sensitive issue, and in any scenario the circumstances and vulnerabilities will be as unique as the person at the heart of it.
Of the behaviours that may cause concern, some may be quite blatant – especially when these are verbal: like a change in language; obsession on a topic; being closed to debate; right through to actually declaring intent to commit violence.
Open, free speech is to be encouraged – people in danger of being radicalised should feel they can question and debate what they are being presented with, particularly through strong, existing relationships.
That’s why, time and again, we hear of people vocalising their new ideas with people they admire or respect – and this often includes authority figures like teachers, doctors, and social workers.
And it’s often these same professionals who best placed to first speak to the individual if a concern has been raised, in order to better understand the situation and any risk posed.
A video shows some professionals giving advice on what to do in that situation.
Whoever the concern originates from, the response needs to be proportionate: people of all backgrounds go through phases of transition, so context always has to be considered when assessing a concern.
Above all be sensitive: You know that seeing a noticeable increase interest in religion or politics is not something to be concerned about. On the contrary, it most likely represents a positive change in behaviour.
It is only if these are coupled with some of the other behaviours that we have discussed, such as use of extremist or divisive language, that you might feel genuinely concerned.
So, trust your judgement in knowing when someone might need help.
PART FIVE: PROPORTIONATE RESPONSE
Responses for support are proportionate, and rely on the right people being involved in steering people away from radicalisation if that’s what’s required.
To help us understand what that support looks like we’re going to continue Amina’s story – this time picking up from the point when a social worker noticed behaviours that caused her concern while on a home visit.
Listen carefully as to how those concerns were handled, and by whom.
There is a proven three-step safeguarding procedure for assessing and handling concerns with relation to radicalisation.
NOTICE CHECK SHARE
First: Articulate what gave you cause for concern.
Who can best help you put that concern into context?
And finally: Who is best qualified to take this forward?
Whatever your role, applying this process will help assess the concern and, when needed, find the correct, proportionate safeguarding support; whether that support is provided by your colleagues or with the help of partner agencies.
To see an example of how different people can be involved in assessing a concern and finding support, look at those involved in Amina’s story.
At the start, the social worker noticed concerning behaviours while on a home visit. And then checked the context for those concerns by speaking to Amina herself.
He then shared his concerns with his Line Manager.
For the Prevent Chair at the Local Authority the process worked like this:
They noticed when the Social Care Line Manager shared their concerns, and checked these by Referring them to the multiagency panel.
Finally the concern was shared by the multiagency panel with an intervention provider as a key part of Amina’s support.
Protocols around information sharing should never be a barrier to safeguarding vulnerable individuals. You may be already familiar with those applicable to you through your existing safeguarding procedures.
To get a clearer understanding of that process, listen to a video with colleagues sharing their advice and experiences.
PART SIX: SUMMARY
We’ve looked how individual circumstances can make someone vulnerable to radicalisation;
How radicalisation works;
And what the correct response might look like to help that vulnerable individual.
Let’s hear how support was found in the other case study, one where a different ideology might be putting someone at risk
Both case studies we have worked with were based on true events, and followed the response of people employed by the Local Authority who found themselves with one-on-one time with a vulnerable individual.
Your department may have its own policy on who to check or share a concern with.
For many, the best person will be your Head of Integration and Prevent, so please make sure you have their contact details.
Remember, the risk of radicalisation is very low but your borough will be able to find the right support when it’s required.
CLOSING – CHANNEL
There are occasions when it’s decided that the best support for the individual at risk needs to be sourced from Partner agencies.
In these cases such support is provided through a multi-agency safeguarding programme called Channel, chaired by the Local Authority.
If you would like to know more about Channel, click to hear a short video that explains how Channel works. Otherwise, this concludes the training package.