Radicalisation: The Last Taboo in Safeguarding and Child Protection? Assessing Practitioner Preparedness in Preventing the Radicalisation of Looked-After Children
Keywords:Radicalisation, Radicalization, Looked-After Children, Safeguarding, Child Protection, Prevent Strategy, Extremism, Terrorism
Radicalisation is fast becoming one of the most acute and pressing safeguarding and child protection issues of the whole century (NSPCC, 2016). However, the issue of looked-after children as potential recruits for extremist groups has been largely overlooked, despite the universal acknowledgement that looked-after children represent the most vulnerable of all demographics within society. This research collected rare and vital primary data by interviewing practitioners within looked-after children’s, residential, and respite services. The study established that practitioners lacked basic awareness of radicalisation and extremism, the Prevent strategy, and the Channel programme. It was discovered that practitioners were unsure of what constitutes the potential indicators of radicalisation, and how and to whom such concerns should be reported. It became apparent that radicalisation as a safeguarding and child protection issue has not been afforded a level of focus adequate and proportionate to the risk posed, and that other issues, namely child sexual exploitation, remain the primary concern in safeguarding contexts.
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