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.
Prevent is a national programme that aims to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It works to ensure that people who are susceptible to radicalisation are offered appropriate interventions, and communities are protected against radicalising influences.
Radicalisation can happen when a person develops extreme views or beliefs that support terrorist groups or activities.
There are different types of terrorism, and Prevent deals with all of them.
The most common types of terrorism in the UK are Extreme Right-Wing terrorism and Islamist terrorism.
Find out more about what terrorism means.
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:
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 in person or online.
Everyone is different, and there is no checklist that can tell us if someone is being radicalised or becoming involved in terrorism. But these signs may mean someone is being radicalised:
- accessing extremist content online or downloading propaganda material
- justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues
- altering their style of dress or appearance to accord with an extremist group
- being unwilling to engage with people who they see as different
- using certain symbols associated with terrorist organisations
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:
- for talking to friends and family on the ACT Early website
- for those working in schools on the Educate Against Hate website
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:
- visit the ACT Early website
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
Guidance for professionals
The information in this section details the notice, check, share process that professionals may wish to follow if they have a concern that a person may be being radicalised.
Some professionals may work in sectors that are covered by the Prevent duty. Full statutory guidance for people working in Prevent duty sectors can be found in the Prevent duty guidance.
An introduction to Prevent for professionals
Those who work in frontline support roles will often be the first to notice if someone displays concerning behaviour, like the signs of radicalisation outlined in this guide. If you notice behaviours that cause you concern, then you may want to consider whether the person is susceptible to radicalisation.
There could be many different reasons for these behaviours, not just radicalisation. It’s important to understand the context, and why these changes are happening, before jumping to any conclusions.
You may wish to discuss your concern organisationally, with the person responsible for safeguarding, such as the designated safeguarding lead. Checking before sharing a concern is a way of making sure you have gathered as much relevant information as possible before making your referral.
Once you have gathered the relevant information, it is essential to share a concern and make a referral to the police using the Prevent national referral form. In some cases, you may do this directly. Sometimes, where appropriate, the organisational safeguarding lead or equivalent, or the local authority may do this on your behalf.
Professionals can complete the Prevent duty training to find out more.