“The Prevent Duty”

The Government’s Prevent Strategy is an anti-radicalisation strategy, intended to require those dealing with young people and those in especially educational settings to watch for, and notify authorities of, radicalisation likely to give rise to acts of terrorism.

Reporting under “prevent” is not something to be taken lightly. Government resources are scarce. At the same time, the tragic events in Plymouth indicate a real risk of radicalisation among the misogynist community.

Some extreme parts of the transactivist community and the incel community appear to be caught by the definition of extremism within the Act. In particular, the refusal to accept a plurality of views on this subject, with threats of violence, seems to be caught.

Recent trans-related activity that might be reportable included threats made by a university student to “go on a terf hunt” with guns (NSFW), the debacle over an LSE student whose thesis suggesting a fantasy of knifing a woman was promoted by them (NSFW), and the threats made to university professor Rosa Freedman as a result of her gender-critical views (referenced here, NSFW).

If you think something you have seen falls within Prevent, there are two things that you can do.

  1. It is possible to report the matter yourself, which you can do here.

2. If the action is taking place in a setting where there is a Prevent duty, you can ask the leader of that organisation to discharge their Prevent duty. Most public bodies and most agencies which are carrying out statutory roles are subject to a Prevent duty. You can see more guidance here, but it includes local authorities, government bodies, state schools and colleges, fostering agencies, and universities.

What should you include: 

Facts and evidence are crucial – leaders of organisations will be sceptical, and this is a legal matter.

Be polite and assertive. This is an exercise in persuasion, though, not coercion. 

They need to be made to understand that they might not actually be on “the right side of history”. Very few of these leaders have personal skin in the game, and almost all will have an eye to keeping their future reputation.

So make it clear that if and when an Inquiry into the issue takes place – for example, after a serious safeguarding breach – you will bring your letter to the attention of the Inquiry so that there will be no question of their not having the opportunity to address the matter, or claiming they had no warning about the issue. Make it clear that you will look to hold them, personally, to account for the consequences of the decision. 

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