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Adults who may be Vulnerable to Terrorism or Extremism


Terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000 is defined as action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person, causes serious damage to property, or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system. The use or threat of terrorism must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.

Extremism is defined in the 2011 Prevent Strategy 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. The definition also includes calls for the death of members of British armed forces, whether in this country or overseas. Extremism can be by violent or non-violent means.

Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups.

There is no obvious profile of a person likely to become involved in extremism or a single indicator of when a person might move to adopt violence in support of extremist ideas. The process of radicalisation is different for every individual and can take place over an extended period or within a very short time frame.

Safeguarding in this context is the process of protecting vulnerable adults from being drawn into terrorism or extremism.

National Guidance and Strategies

In March 2015, the Government published the Prevent Duty Guidance on the duties within the Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015. The Act places a duty on various specified authorities that all have an important role in Prevent delivery. The specified authorities include local authorities, education providers (across all ages), health sector, police, and prison and probation services amongst others.

The new legislation builds upon the Prevent Strategy 2011, which aims to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorists, and has three specific strategic objectives:

  • Respond to the IDELOGICAL challenge and the threat faced by the UK from those who promote extremism and seek to radicalise people;
  • Prevent INDIVIDUALS from being radicalised and drawn into terrorism to ensure they are given the appropriate advice and support; and
  • Work with sectors and INSTITUTIONS where there are risks of radicalisation that need to be addressed.

These strategic objectives have become known as the three I’s. The Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015 requires that all specified agencies (including through their commissioned services and services they have licensing or health and safety responsibilities for) will work in partnership to deter, disrupt and prosecute. In the context of safeguarding, to use the powers under the Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004 to safeguard and protect children who may be being radicalised, involved in extremism or terrorism.

Channel: Protecting vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism: A guide for local partnerships was published by HM Government in October 2012 and updated in 2015. The Channel programme is an initiative led by the police and partners, which operates to provide support to people at risk of being drawn into extremism.

The Channel Guidance identifies a multi-agency approach to protect vulnerable people by:

  • Identifying individuals at risk;
  • Assessing the nature and extent of that risk; and
  • Developing the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.

Understanding and Recognising Risks and Vulnerabilities of Terrorism or Extremism

Adults who may be vulnerable can be drawn into terrorism or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups by many means. Examples of extremist causes that have used violence or non-violent means to achieve their ends include animal rights, the far right, environmentalists, internal terrorist and international terrorist organisations.

These can include through the influence of family members or friends and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations or, increasingly, through the internet This can put any adult who is vulnerable at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause significant harm.

Most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in extremism. Numerous factors can contribute to and influence the range of behaviours that are defined as extremism. It is important to consider these factors in order to develop an understanding of the issue. It is also necessary to understand those factors that build resilience and protect individuals from engaging in extremist activity.

It is important to be cautious in assessing these factors to avoid inappropriately labelling or stigmatising individuals because they possess a characteristic or fit a specific profile.

It is vital that all professionals who have contact with vulnerable individuals are able to recognise those vulnerabilities and help to increase safe choices.

It is necessary to remember that extremist behaviour operates on many levels in the absence of protective factors and that individuals largely act within the context of their environment and experiences.

Research shows that indicators of vulnerability can include:

  • Identity Crisis - Distance from cultural / religious heritage and uncomfortable with their place in the society around them;
  • Personal Crisis - Family tensions; sense of isolation; adolescence; low self-esteem; disassociating from existing friendship group and becoming involved with a new and different group of friends; searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging;
  • Personal Circumstances - Migration; local community tensions; events affecting country or region of origin; alienation from UK values; having a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
  • Unmet Aspirations - Perceptions of injustice; feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
  • Criminality - Experiences of imprisonment; poor resettlement / reintegration; previous involvement with criminal groups.

However, this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that those experiencing the above are at risk of exploitation for the purposes of extremism – individuals may show some, all or none of the vulnerabilities.

The process of radicalisation is different for every individual and can take place over an extended period or within a very short time frame. Given this, it is important that awareness, sensitivity and expertise are developed within all contexts to recognise signs and indications of radicalisation.

The risk of radicalisation is the product of a number of factors and identifying this risk requires that staff exercise their professional judgement, seeking further advice as necessary. It may be combined with other vulnerabilities or may be the only risk identified.

Potential indicators identified by the Channel Guidance include:

  • Use of inappropriate language;
  • Possession or accessing violent extremist literature;
  • Behavioural changes;
  • The expression of extremist views;
  • Advocating violent actions and means;
  • Association with known extremists;
  • Articulating support for violent extremist causes or leaders;
  • Using extremist views to explain personal disadvantage;
  • Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations;
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology.

Annex C of the Channel Duty Guidance 2015 provides the Vulnerability Assessment Framework that Channel Panels will use to guide decision making. It is also a useful tool for agencies to use to guide their assessment and referral decision making processes.

No research has identified a definitive list of indicators which would show that someone is vulnerable to radicalisation to violent extremism. Rather, the risk of radicalisation is the product of a number of factors and identifying this risk requires that staff exercise their professional judgement, seeking further advice as necessary.

Some individuals may be at risk due to living with or being in direct contact with known extremists or individuals suspected to be involved in the radicalisation process. Such individuals may be identified by the police or through MAPPA process or by all agencies through the allegations against people who work with adults and children processes.

Should it come to a worker’s attention that an individual has been arrested for terrorism, extremism or radicalisation offences, the worker should consider with their agency’s safeguarding lead whether safeguarding measures need to be taken in respect of the family members and connected /influenced individuals of the arrested individual. The Chair of the Channel Panel and Police Channel Co-ordinators will be able to advise on these matters and on wider safeguarding measures (emergency protection or police protection orders) to reduce vulnerability.

Channel: Referral and Intervention Process (Lancashire only)

Staff working with individuals should use the process below to assist them in identifying and responding to concerns about individuals who may be vulnerable to radicalisation or being drawn into extremist activity.

Early identification of concerns should result in responses being made through current support mechanisms available within services available - please see each SABs websites for further information.

In a few cases, an individual may move beyond being vulnerable to extremism to involvement or potential involvement in supporting or following extremist behaviour. Where this is identified as a potential risk, further investigation by the police will be required, prior to other assessments and interventions.

Any member of staff who identifies such concerns, for example as a result of observed behaviour or reports of conversations to suggest an individual supports terrorism and/or extremism, must report these concerns to the named or designated safeguarding professional in their organisation or agency, who will consider what further action is required.

Some individuals who are at risk of being drawn into extremist activity may pose a risk to others. Many perpetrators/abusers are in need of care and protection themselves; however, they must also be held accountable for their own actions.

The named or designated safeguarding professional should consider whether a situation may be so serious that an emergency response is required. Staff should exercise professional judgement and common sense to identify whether an emergency situation applies; examples in relation to violent extremism are expected to be very rare but would apply when there is information that a violent act is imminent or where weapons or other materials may be in the possession of a young person, another member of their family or within the community. In this situation, a 999 call should be made.

Some concerns which are identified may have a security dimension to them. For this reason, it is important that liaison with the police forms an early part of all investigations.

The named or designated safeguarding professional, in discussion with other professionals (including the local police Prevent team) as appropriate, will need to determine the most appropriate level and type of support to offer the individual and their family:

For all types of response, where services and agencies are referring directly to specialist services commissioned through ‘Prevent’ initiatives, rather than through the Channel Panel, it is important to notify the local Prevent team of this referral.

For all types of response, a clear plan must be developed and documented to set out how the needs of the individual will be met, and who will have responsibility for doing this. Early discussion with officers in the local Prevent team will allow the designated safeguarding professional to decide if a referral to the Channel Panel is required, or if current available services at a lower risk level are sufficient to manage any risks. The plan will include agreed arrangements for review of progress.

A discussion with the local Prevent team will advise how the referral can be made.

The Channel Panel will discuss each new referral to determine where multi-agency response, co-ordination and review are beneficial. Also at each meeting, all Channel Panel cases will be reviewed to determine if services are effective in safeguarding the child or young person and reducing the risks of radicalisation and extremism. All services, provided at any tier, will have a responsibility to the Channel Panel to regularly report on progress being made. The local Prevent team on behalf of the Channel Panel chair will co-ordinate responses and attendance to the Channel Panel.

Unless it is deemed appropriate to end the agreed response, each review meeting should agree dates of further reviews, along with the person responsible for convening the review meeting and the people who should be involved in this.

All those involved with the individual should continue to monitor the situation, and consider modifying the response if circumstances change. If the risk is perceived to diminish, it may be appropriate to end the response. However, if the risk is perceived to increase, an escalation of the response may be required and may take the case outside of the ‘Prevent’ strand of the CONTEST strategy.



For safeguarding concerns discuss with Police Channel Co-ordinator:

Det. Sgt Maxine Monks
Tel: 01772 413029 (Office hours)

Duty Desk: 01772 412742 (8am to 6pm weekdays).

Out of Hours: Contact Police on 101 or 999 – ask that the Duty Inspector and Force Incident Manager are made aware and make necessary contact with Counter-Terrorism Branch.

For Strategic or Policy Support:

Inspector Angela Bradbury
01772 412604

Local Prevent Co-ordinators/Officers:

Blackburn with Darwen

Medina Patel – Prevent Coordinator
Tel: 01254 585263

East Lancashire

Rob Grigorjevs - Programme & Projects Co-ordinator
01282 477112
Mobile: 07854 784611

Lancashire County Council Contacts

Single Point of Contact: Pam Smith


Equality and Cohesion Team: 01772 530591 / 0776306502

For Prevent enquiries, please contact
or 01772 413321 / 413366


For advice and arrangements for training: Prevent Teams can be contacted on:

  • East Lancashire (BwD, Burnley, Pendle etc.) – 01254 353541;
  • West/South/North Lancashire (Blackpool, Lancaster, Chorley etc.) – 01772 209733.


Paul Burke PC 793 - Prevent Officer

Tel: 0300 124 0113 X40793

Out of Hours: Contact Police on 101 or 999 – ask that the Duty Inspector and Force Incident Manager are made aware and make necessary contact with Counter-Terrorism Branch.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

See also: MAPPA Guidance 2012 (Ministry of Justice).

MAPPA is designed to protect the public, including victims of previous crimes, from serious harm by sexual or violent offenders. These arrangements require local criminal justice agencies and other agencies to work together in partnership.

MAPPA is not a statutory body itself but a mechanism through which agencies can better discharge their statutory responsibilities and protect the public in a coordinated way. At all times, agencies should continue to retain their full statutory responsibilities and duties; these should not be compromised by MAPPA arrangements.

Click here to view Lancashire and Cumbria MAPPA information and documents - to follow.