This year, Surrey Adult Learning recognises 1-6 March as Prevent week with the theme 'Act Early'.
"Friends and family are best placed to spot the signs, so trust your instincts and tell us your concerns in confidence. We can help if you act early. You won't be wasting our time and you won't ruin lives, but you might save them." Surrey Police
What is Prevent?
Prevent is about supporting someone who is a victim of radicalisation to take their life in a different direction away from extremism. Although the police are involved, Prevent is not part of any criminal process. The police work with other organisations to put the right support in place – everyone is different and the support needed will vary. It could be from a doctor, local community or faith group or a specialist mentor. Receiving support is confidential and voluntary – the victim needs to agree.
There are many different reasons why someone may be vulnerable to radicalisation but they can apply to any age, social class, religion, ethnic or educational background. Similarly, there is no single route to radicalisation but there are signs we can all watch out for which may mean someone is being led down the path to extremism:
- Being influenced or controlled by a group
- An obsessive or angry desire for change or 'something to be done'
- Spending an increasing amount of time online and sharing extreme views on social media
- Personal crisis
- Need for identity, meaning and belonging
- Mental health issues
- Looking to blame others
- Desire for status, need to dominate
With most of us spending more time online, perhaps including following social media or playing online games, this has given extremists more opportunities to connect with people, identify those who might be vulnerable and draw them in (grooming) with disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories, sometimes called fake news. In Surrey the most common form of extremism remains right wing extremism.
Spotlight on Act Early
Our focus this year is on the new safeguarding Act Early website which was launched in November 2020. This website includes an advice line and encourages us all to act early, share concerns and seek help if we are worried that a loved one might be being drawn into harmful activities or groups. It is for the general public – no specialist knowledge required.
What can you do?
Become familiar with, and share the Act Early - Prevent Radicalisation website with your friends and family. It was launched to encourage friends and families to act early, share concerns and seek help if they are worried about a loved one being radicalised. The website includes signs to spot, FAQs and details of a new national advice line.