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Radicalisation and Extremism

The process of becoming radicalised is different for everyone and can take place very quickly, or over a long period of time, in different ways.

There are certain behaviours that are often seen when someone is being radicalised. Research evidences that some of the below indicators and vulnerabilities can make a person more at risk of being exploited.

It is important to note that identifying some of the signs below doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is being radicalised. There can be other reasons for the behaviours.

Indicators and vulnerabilities can include:

  • 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
  • A need for identity, meaning or belonging
  • Mental health issues
  • Looking to blame others
  • Desire for status, need to dominate

Factors that can increase someone’s vulnerability to radicalisation include:

  • Struggling with a sense of identity and feeling confused where they fit in or belong
  • Feeling under threat either personally, or as part of a community
  • Feeling angry or wronged about events like conflicts or terrorist incidents happening in the UK or abroad
  • Mental health issues
  • A traumatic life event like bereavement, or the loss of a job or home
  • Experiencing racism, bullying or discrimination
  • Family issues
  • Feeling left behind
  • Community tensions
  • Knowing someone who is expressing extreme views or who have joined extremist organisations or groups
  • Terrorist incidents that have happened in the UK or abroad
  • Events or incidents that are affecting a specific group or community, either in the UK or abroad

Risk in education settings

The Understanding and Identifying radicalisation risk in your education setting provides additional information and guidance on understanding risk.