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Strategy and Governance

This page provides information on the Prevent Strategy including government definitions on terrorism, radicalisation and extremism. All organisations that work with children and young people have a responsibility to protect adults and children from harm. This includes becoming radicalised and/or being exposed to extreme views.

What is the Prevent Strategy?

The Prevent Strategy, is part of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. The aim of the Prevent Strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. In the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, this has been expressed as the need to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

The aim of Prevent is to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Prevent also extends to supporting the rehabilitation and disengagement of those already involved in terrorism.

The objectives of Prevent are outlined in the statutory Prevent Duty Guidance (2023), which are to:

  • tackle the ideological causes of terrorism,
  • intervene early to support people susceptible to radicalisation,
  • enable people who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.

What is terrorism?

Terrorism is defined in the Terrorism Act 2000 Section 1 as the use or threat of action designed to:

  • influence the government or an international governmental organisation; or
  • intimidate the public, or a section of the public;

made for the purposes of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause; and it involves or causes:

  • serious violence against a person;
  • serious damage to a property;
  • a threat to a person’s life;
  • a serious risk to the health and safety of the public; or
  • serious interference with or disruption to an electronic system.

What is radicalisation?

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.

What is extremism?

The government has defined extremism 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, including calls for the death of members of our armed forces.”

What is CONTEST?

CONTEST is the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to reduce the risk from terrorism to the UK, its citizens and interests overseas, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.

It has four key strands of work that have a different role to play in tackling the threat from extremism:

  1. Pursue – to stop terrorist attacks,
  2. Prepare – where an attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate its impact,
  3. Protect – to strengthen the overall protection against terrorist attacks,
  4. Prevent – to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 put the Prevent duty onto a statutory footing.

Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the Act) places a duty on certain bodies (“specified authorities” listed in Schedule 6 to the Act), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.”

Further information and key documents

Information can also be found on the Adults Board and Children’s Partnership websites.