Terrorism and Extremism

Terrorism and extremism are sometimes used interchangeably. Both pose a threat to students but they have very distinct definitions.

Terrorism is an action or threat designed to influence the government or intimidate the public. Its purpose is to advance a political, religious or ideological cause. The current UK definition of terrorism is given in the Terrorism Act 2006.

In the UK we define terrorism as a violent action that:

  • Endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action
  • Involves serious violence against a person
  • Causes serious damage to property
  • Creates a serious risk to the public’s health and safety
  • Interferes with or seriously disrupts an electronic system

But how does terrorism differ from extremism? The Counter Extremism Strategy 2015 says: “Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and respect and tolerance for different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.”

It’s important to remember that not all extremist groups, whether Islamist, far-right or other, will commit terrorist or violent acts. However, some groups pose particular threats, both online and offline.

Resources

The NSPCC is a leading charity fighting to protect children from all forms of abuse. The website includes advice for adults worried about a child including what to do if you are worried about radicalisation and how to talk to children who might be upset by terrorist events in the media.

If you’re worried about a child, even if you’re unsure, you can contact the NSPCC helpline to speak to one of their counsellors on 0808 800 5000.

Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies. If you are worried someone close to you is becoming radicalised act early and seek help. The sooner you reach out, the quicker the person you care about can be protected from being groomed and exploited by extremists.

Police forces across the country have specially trained Prevent officers who work with professionals in health, education, local authorities and charities, as well as faith and community groups to help vulnerable people move away from extremism. They are here to listen and offer help and advice. Receiving support is voluntary.

Friends and family are best placed to spot the signs, so trust your instincts and share your concerns in confidence.

They can help if you act early. You won’t be wasting police time and you won’t ruin lives, but you might save them.

To find out more about how to help someone close to you visit ACT Early.

An informative website providing help and advice to the public to understand Prevent, Channel and the signs of radicalisation. Let’s Talk About It is an initiative designed to provide practical help and guidance to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Parents may find the online safety section particularly helpful. Schools may find the website helpful to clearly explain the Prevent programme to parents and staff, and to source information posters and leaflets.

Online safety advice for parents from Childnet International, a non-profit organisation helping to make the internet a safe space for children. Whether you’re puzzled by parental controls or would like to know more about gaming, Childnet International can help parents keep up to speed with what children and young people are doing online. The website includes a whole host of useful ways to keep your child safe, from the basics every parent needs to know, to hot topics and emerging web trends.