Guidance

Get help for radicalisation concerns

Find out how the Prevent programme supports people who are at risk of becoming involved with terrorism through radicalisation.

If you’re worried about someone and want to find out more about Prevent before making a referral, visit the ACT Early website.

Anything you share will always be in confidence.

If there is immediate danger, call 999.

About Prevent

Prevent is a national safeguarding programme that supports people who are at risk of becoming involved with terrorism through radicalisation.

Radicalisation means someone is being encouraged to develop extreme views or beliefs in support of terrorist groups and activities.

There are different types of terrorism, and Prevent deals with all of them. Find out more about what terrorism means.

The most common types of terrorism in the UK are extreme right-wing terrorism and Islamist terrorism.

  • Extreme right-wing terrorism may be inspired by groups such as National Action and Atomwaffen Division.

  • Islamist terrorism may be inspired by groups such as Daesh or Al Qa’ida.

Prevent is run locally by experts who understand the risks and issues in their area, and how best to support their communities. These experts include local authorities, the police, charities and community organisations.

Learn more about Prevent from the people involved:

Prevent: An Introduction.

Understand why Prevent is important to reduce terrorism

Terrorism has a devastating impact on victims, their families and communities. Many lives have been lost to terrorist attacks in the UK, and even more people have been injured.

People can commit a terrorist offence even if they have not carried out a terrorist attack. Downloading terrorist materials from the internet or joining a terrorist group could be a terrorist offence. Find out more about what terrorism means.

By getting advice or support from Prevent, you can help to stop the person you are worried about becoming a danger to themself or others.

If there is immediate danger, call 999.

Spot the signs of radicalisation

Radicalisation can happen both face to face or online. It is easier than ever to be groomed by terrorist recruiters on the internet and to find extremist materials.

Everyone is different, and there is no checklist that can tell us if someone is being radicalised or becoming involved in terrorism. But these common signs may mean someone is being radicalised:

  • expressing an obsessive or angry sense of injustice about a situation, and blaming this on others
  • expressing anger or extreme views towards a particular group – such as a different race or religion
  • suggesting that violent action is the only way to solve an issue
  • sharing extreme views or hatred on social media

What to do if you’re worried about someone

Try to speak with them

If it’s somebody that you know well, try talking to them about what you’ve noticed if you feel comfortable doing so.

Find advice on how to do this:

Be aware that your concern might not be welcome at first, and the person may get angry or defensive. You could try talking to other family and friends to see if they have noticed anything similar before getting expert advice.

Ask for advice

If you are worried that someone you know is being radicalised, ask for advice as soon as possible:

The earlier you ask for advice, the sooner you can help to stop that person becoming a danger to themself or others. Anything you share will always be in confidence.

After talking to someone about your worries, you may be asked to help create a referral to the Prevent programme.

What happens when a person is referred to Prevent

Anyone who is being radicalised can be referred to Prevent. Referring someone ensures they get the help they need to keep them and others safe.

Getting support from Prevent is not a punishment and won’t go on a person’s criminal record. Referrals are not made to the Home Office.

Usually, a Prevent referral will follow this process.

  1. The local police force looks at each referral first. They check if there is an immediate security threat. They will also check if there is a genuine risk of radicalisation.

  2. If the person isn’t at risk of radicalisation, they are not a case for Prevent. Where appropriate, the person may instead be offered other support, for example being referred to mental health services or social services.

  3. If there is a risk of radicalisation, a panel of local experts assesses the referral. The panel is led by the local authority and may include the police, children’s services, social services, education professionals and mental health care professionals.

  4. If the panel decides that a person is at risk, they’ll be invited to join a support programme called Channel. This is voluntary, so a person can choose whether to take part. If a person chooses not to take part in the programme, they may be offered other support instead and any risk will be managed by the police.

The support provided by the Channel programme may include:

  • mentoring
  • mental health support such as counselling
  • education or career development support
  • online safety training for parents

Find out about the type of support offered through Prevent in our Case studies (ODT, 19.5 KB).

Find out more about how Prevent works

The Prevent programme also helps communities to build their resilience to radicalisation through local projects across the country.

These projects are run with charities and community groups, and range from critical thinking workshops in schools to programmes helping vulnerable adults with drug and alcohol abuse.

Prevent runs hundreds of projects every year, reaching thousands of people across the UK.

Published 8 June 2022
Last updated 22 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added Welsh translation.

  2. First published.