There is no such thing as a “typical extremist”: those who become involved in extremist actions come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and most individuals, even those who hold radical views, do not become involved in violent extremist activity.
Pupils may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors – it is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that school staff are able to recognise those vulnerabilities.
Indicators of vulnerability include:
• Identity Crisis – the student / pupil is distanced from their cultural / religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society;
• Personal Crisis – the student / pupil may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of isolation; and low self-esteem; they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends; they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging;
Personal Circumstances – migration; local community tensions; and events affecting the student / pupil’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy;
• Unmet Aspirations – the student / pupil may have perceptions of injustice; a feeling of failure; rejection of civic life;
• Experiences of Criminality – which may include involvement with criminal groups, imprisonment, and poor resettlement /reintegration;
• Special Educational Need – students / pupils may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others.
More critical risk factors could include:
• Being in contact with extremist recruiters;
• Accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element;
• Possessing or accessing violent extremist literature;
• Using extremist narratives and a global ideology to explain personal disadvantage;
• Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues;
• Joining or seeking to join extremist organisations;
• Significant changes to appearance and / or behaviour;
At BCA we are committed to ensuring that staff undertake regular training in the warning signs of extremism and are confident and skilled in how to challenge it.
Holocaust Memorial Day 2016