Extremism & Radicalisation

Extremism and Radicalisation

The UK Government defines extremism as: “The 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” and/or “calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.” 

Radicalisation is defined by the UK Government within this context as: “The process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups.”

Radicalisation can be really difficult to spot. Signs that may indicate a child is being radicalised include:

  • Isolating themselves from family and friends
  • Talking as if from a scripted speech
  • Unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
  • A sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
  • Increased levels of anger
  • Increased secretiveness, especially around internet use.

Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, or be victims of bullying or discrimination. Extremists might target them and tell them they can be part of something special, later brainwashing them into cutting themselves off from their friends and family.

However, these signs don't necessarily mean a child is being radicalised – it may be normal teenage behaviour or a sign that something else is wrong.


For advice and support:

Educate against hate 

  NSPCC - Protecting children against radicalisation