February 10, 2023

Safeguarding: The Prevent Duty Today and Incel

This blog is based on Judicium’s Safeguarding ‘Sofa Session’ from the 9th of February, with our resident expert Carol Oram. This session focused on the Prevent Duty today, the Incel subculture and why schools need to know about it, and embedding the Prevent Duty in your school.

What Does the Prevent Duty Mean? 

From July 2015, all schools, registered early years childcare providers and registered later years childcare providers are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.

It is outlined in the 2022 guidance as “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.” This duty is known as the Prevent duty. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-prevent-duty-safeguarding-learners-vulnerable-to-radicalisation)

The guidance recommends your School/Trust contacts and build partnerships with your:

  • local authority Prevent lead
  • local authority Prevent education officer (if you have one)
  • HEFE regional Prevent coordinator (if applicable)
  • local authority children or adult services
  • safeguarding children partnership
  • local policing team (search on your local police website)

This is done to better understand the local risk and threats in your area, build relationships, and to ensure you know where to get support when you need it.

It’s important your School/Trust understands what radicalisation means and why children or young people may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism, also known as push and pull factors.

Push Factors

Push factors may include a child or young person feeling:

  • isolated
  • they do not belong
  • they have no purpose
  • low self-esteem
  • their aspirations are unmet
  • anger or frustration
  • a sense of injustice
  • confused about life or the world
  • real or perceived personal grievances

Pull Factors

Pull factors could include an extremist or terrorist group, organisation or individual:

  • offering a sense of community and a support network
  • promising fulfilment or excitement
  • making the child, young person or adult learner feel special and part of a wider mission
  • offering a very narrow, manipulated version of an identity that often supports stereotypical gender norms
  • offering inaccurate answers or falsehoods to grievances
  • encouraging conspiracy theories
  • promoting an ‘us vs. them’ mentality
  • blaming specific communities for grievances
  • encouraging the use of hatred and violent actions to get justice
  • encouraging ideas of supremacy

Your School/Trust should have clear procedures for reporting and dealing with suspected cases of radicalisation within your school(s).

Top Tips

  1. Familiarise yourself with the additional guidance published in October 2022. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-prevent-duty-safeguarding-learners-vulnerable-to-radicalisation)                                                                                                                                                        
  2. Find your Prevent referral process in your local authority.
    • There have been cases where schools have referred to CSC rather than through the Prevent channel, assuming they are being screened by the same people, which isn’t always the case.
  1. Understand the meaning and why vulnerable children might be drawn towards extremism in any form.
    • Ensure that this information is disseminated to staff.
  1. Know what the risks in your local context look like.
    • Your Prevent Officer should be able to share this information with you.
    • Ensure this is shared with your school community so you can be alert to these contextual risks.

    How Can You Imbed the Prevent Duty in Your School?

    At a whole school level, the guidance focuses on four areas:

    1. Staff training to increase confidence in identifying signs of radical views or grooming.
    2. Completing a risk assessment for the school
      • This is specific to your area and must consider contextual risks to the children in your educational setting.
    3. Working in partnership
    4. IT policies

    Schools can also build pupils’ resilience to radicalisation by promoting fundamental values and enabling them to challenge extremist views. This can be done by:

    • Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity.
    • Challenging prejudices and racist comments.
    • Developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity.
    • Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of your school and wider community, as well as values such as democracy, rule of law and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

    Top Tips

    1. Online safety
      • What does your filtering and monitoring system screen for and is it capable of monitoring for extremist content?
      • What lessons have been completed on grooming, online content, what to trust and the risks of radicalisation?
    2. Building resilience
      • Do you encourage debate, including encouraging students to adopt viewpoints that are not their own?
      • Are staff aware of local issues and have they been trained on how to challenge dangerous or extreme views?
      • Do staff know how to navigate difficult topics? Understanding that tackling issues insensitively could have the adverse effect?
      • How does the school promote the rights of protected characteristics?
      • What does the school do in response to bullying and discrimination? What are your trends, how do you track them, and what is the local response?
      • This can help support a culture where intolerance is tackled and healthy debate is fostered in safe environment
    3. Curriculum- PSHE (radicalisation, grooming and online safety is proactively taught to students and staff)

    Incel Subculture and Why Schools Need to Know About It

    What is Incel?

    “Incel” is a shortening of the term “involuntarily celibate”. The term has been adopted by a growing group of predominantly white males, who use websites such as Reddit and 4Chan to discuss misogynistic and violent views about women. These views are often a result of feeling rejected by women. They use a shared language to speak in derogatory and dehumanising ways about mainly women, but also men who have sexual relationships with women.

    Why is it linked to the Prevent Duty?

    Simply put, Incel is another example of radicalisation, and schools need to be aware of contextual issues that may have an impact.

    What are the risks in school?

    The risks are similar to other types of radicalisations and exist if new and emerging views are not acknowledged and dealt with in a safe way.

    This brings us back to how your School/Trust builds resilience within your community and upskills your staff to tackle these issues with confidence.

    What can your school/Trust do?

    1. Understand what the risks are and sharing information with staff and parents.
    2. Take a measured approach to responses to emerging threats.
    3. Consider what you already do and how you can strengthen your processes.
    4. Ensure your curriculum promotes tolerance, understanding and respect.
      • It should teach children how to identify and report things of concern and tackle difficult issues head-on in an age-appropriate way.
    5. Tackle issues with sensitivity
      • Issues such as misogyny, consent and feminism should be covered in PSHE, so children get the knowledge they need to equip them with the skills to make their own decisions.
    6. Find opportunities to support the personal development of young people, including their confidence and social skills, to decrease levels of vulnerability.
    7. Combat issues before they start by having robust education around key issues, promoting tolerance and respect, and by supporting children in developing social skills and meaningful friendships.
    8. Ensure children understand about keeping themselves safe online.
      • This can include a programme within the PSHE curriculum to think about radicalisation, grooming and online safety.
    5 Key Takeaways

    1. Consider online safety including monitoring systems you have in place.
    2. Ensure that this all ties in with behaviour policies for both students and staff and the safeguarding policy.
    3. Ensure that the curriculum and PSHE allow for new ideals to be raised and tackled in a safe and supportive environment
    4. Make sure staff feel equipped with training and support.
    5. Know your local referral process for Prevent and who you can go to for advice


    Additional Information

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    If you’d like to review Judicium’s forthcoming sofa sessions please click here

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