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Radicalisation is a process through which someone comes to support extremist beliefs.
Or becomes involved in extremist beliefs.

Radicalisation is explained in government statutory guidance called the Revised Prevent duty guidance. The guidance describes extremist beliefs as the vocal or active opposition to key British values including: the rule of law, individual liberty and respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

Getting help, support and advice

Click on the drop downs below to find out how families can get help if they’re worried a child is being radicalised

Early help

Children at risk of being radicalised may need Early help services. This is recognised in government statutory guidance (see Working Together 2018 at page 14, paragraph 6).

Early help aims for agencies to work together to provide help as soon as a problem emerges. This is because tackling a problem early can help to stop things getting worse. Practitioners should be trained to look for signs a child or family may need help.

So, if someone who works with a child is concerned they may be at risk of radicalisation, they may suggest an early help assessment. Or a parent or carer can ask someone who already knows the child to do an assessment.

Early Help services are aimed at supporting children and families without a social worker. Social workers are not involved in early help assessments or providing early help services. But sometimes social workers ask early help services to provide assistance to children and families they are working with.

See Our Early help page for more information about early help assessments and services.

Children’s services

If a parent or carer (or anyone else) thinks that their child is being radicalised, they should contact children’s services and tell them this. Children’s services should decide certain things within one working day. These are:

See Working Together 2018 at page 33, paragraph 78.  How children’s services respond will depend on the precise situation. And the precise risks the child may be facing.

Children’s services must tell:

  • The person who made the referral what action (if any) they plan to take
  • The parent and the child what action (if any) they plan to take. But they should not do this if it may place the child at risk of harm (see Working Together 2018, page 34, paragraph 80).

See our Child in need and Child protection pages for more information about the different assessments children’s services may carry out and the processes involved.

Help from the police

If it is an emergency situation, where they could be at risk of immediate physical harm, then the parent or carer should call 999. The police also have a confidential anti-terrorism hotline which a parent or carer could call: 0800789321.

Where can families get advice about radicalisation?

NSPCC helpline

The NSPCC has an anonymous helpline which families can ring if they have concerns in relation to radicalisation. The number is 0808 800 5000

‘Channel’ – via children’s services

Children’s services can help families to work with Channel. This is a multi-agency programme which aims to provide early support to people (including children) identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

Families cannot self-refer to Channel, but parents, carers or other family members can contact children’s services to ask about help from Channel.

Legal advice

If children’s services become involved with a family due to concerns relating to radicalisation, parents or carers may want to seek legal advice.

To find a solicitor, search using the ‘how to find a solicitor’ function on the Law Society website.  Look for someone who is a child law specialist. Or who has ‘Children Law Accreditation’. And check what experience they have of cases involving radicalisation.

For information about finding and working with a solicitor, please see our top tips guide to Working with a solicitor.

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