Prevent Strategy

Prevent Strategy

Guide for Young People

What is Prevent?

Prevent is part of the Government counter-terrorism strategy. It's designed to tackle the problem of terrorism at its roots, preventing people from supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves. It is about supporting individuals who are at risk of radicalisation away from becoming terrorists, or supporting terrorism.

What is extremism and terrorism?

The Government has defined extremism 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”.

Trying to define terrorism can be difficult and controversial, because so many people and countries see it differently. But any definition usually includes:

  • Mass intimidation - trying to make lots of people scared to go about their everyday or normal life
  • Unlawful violence or the threat of violence against the public
  • Violence intended to change a law, culture or political system, or to change how people think or act

Who are violent extremists or terrorists?

They can come from any background, any community, or any religion or belief. They can be young or old, male or female, rich or poor. They believe that violence or terrorism is an acceptable way of changing how others think or behave.

Why do people get involved in terrorism or violent extremism?

There are many reasons why this may happen. Here are just some:

  • A lack of identity or belonging
  • Insecurity
  • Defending their culture, way of life or beliefs
  • They may be pressured, or bullied into it
  • They may have been radicalised by violent extremist groups
  • They may want retaliation

Those who encourage or get others to commit acts of violent extremism often target vulnerable people who are led into believing that violence or criminality can earn respect, riches or even glory.

However, even though a person may feel angry about something they believe is unfair this does not mean they should attack or threaten any person or any community.

Is extremism really a risk in our area?

Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. Some of these may be a bigger threat in our area than others. We will give you the skills to protect yourself from any extremist views you may encounter, now or later in your life.

How are extremist ideologies communicated?

The internet provides entertainment, connectivity and interaction. You will spend a lot of time on the internet while studying, and they may also use other social media and messaging sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Snapchat or WhatsApp.

These can be useful tools but you need to be aware that there are powerful programmes and networks that use these media channels to reach out to young people and can communicate extremist messages.

Peer interaction
Young people at risk may display extrovert behaviour, start getting into trouble at College or on the streets and mixing with other children who behave badly, but this is not always the case.

Sometimes those at risk may be encouraged by the people they are in contact with not to draw attention to themselves. Young people may become quieter and more serious about their studies, and may also dress more modestly and mix with a group of people that seems to be better behaved than previous friends.

TV and media
The media provides a view on world affairs. However, this is often a very simple version of events which are in reality very complex. Therefore you may not understand the situation fully or appreciate the dangers involved in the views of some groups.

Spotting the signs in friends and getting support

Radicalisation can be really difficult to spot. Signs that may indicate a young person is being radicalised include:

  • Isolating themselves from family and friends
  • Talking as if from a scripted speech
  • Unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
  • A sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
  • Increased levels of anger
  • Increased secretiveness, especially around internet use
  • Out of character changes in behaviour and peer relationships
  • Showing sympathy for extremist causes

However, these signs don't necessarily mean they are being radicalised – it may be normal teenage behaviour or a sign that something else is wrong. If you notice any change in a friends behaviour and you're worried, you can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

What to do you do if you are worried?

Tell someone! Any student can approach any member of staff about Prevent and radicalisation and they will listen to you. The College has procedures in place to investigate and deal with this issue and take them seriously.

If you have concerns about your wellbeing or that of others please share them with any member of staff directly, or click on the 'Send a report' button below to send an anonymous message.


'My friend became radicalised'
'Radicalisation' by Highbury College students
How to use the Facebook Safety
Check tool
'Havering College students discussing radicalisation

Want to report a concern?

Send a confidential and anonymous message to the Hugh Baird College Safeguarding Officers.

Send a report

Anti-Terrorist Hotline: 0800 789 321
Report hate crime online at:
Report online extremism at: