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NSPCC trains helpline counsellors how to spot radicalisation

Helpline will support adults concerned about the growing problem of radicalisation

The NSPCC has trained its helpline practitioners to spot the warning signs of radicalisation in a bid to tackle the growing problem of individuals being influenced by extremism.

The training, provided by experts in the field, included how recruiters might befriend vulnerable young people, feed them ideologies and – in the worst case scenario - persuade them to commit terrorist attacks.

The NSPCC helpline will provide support to adults who have concerns about children and young people being radicalised or who need advice on how to talk to their children about issues related to terrorism.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “We've seen a wave of terrorist attacks recently and both parents and children tell us how frightened they are by what is happening. So it is vital that we are here for parents when they need our support and are able to provide them with non-judgemental advice on issues ranging from the wider terrorist threat to the dangers of radicalisation.

“Of course, the fact that a young person might hold extreme or radical views is not a safeguarding issue in itself. But when young people are groomed for extremist purposes and encouraged to commit acts that could hurt themselves or others, then it becomes abuse. That’s why we’ve trained our helpline practitioners to cope with this fresh danger to young people.”

Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, be members of gangs or a victim of bullying or discrimination. Radicals might target them and tell them they can be part of something special and may brainwash them into cutting themselves off from their friends and family. Radicalisation can be really difficult to spot but warning signs that may indicate a child is being radicalised include:

  • isolating themselves from family and friends
  • talking as if from a scripted speech
  • increased levels of anger
  • becoming disrespectful and asking inappropriate questions.

The techniques used to groom children for radicalisation has parallels to sexual abuse grooming, and is a form of emotional abuse. There is more information about grooming here.

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