What to do if you are concerned about someone you know

University is an open and exciting place to explore political, religious and philosophical beliefs, and this is encouraged. In most circumstances this is a natural element of the University experience. However, individual circumstances for a small number of students may mean that they are more receptive to extreme ideologies.

There is no blueprint profile of a person who is at risk from being drawn into terrorism. The indicators that this may be the case are similar to other welfare and wellbeing concerns. We are not asking students or staff to make decisions based on these indicators to identify that a person may be at risk of being radicalised. We are providing information to help you to assess whether a concern should be referred in to the welfare and wellbeing processes, and how to make that referral. Key members of staff within this process have been trained in the further assessment of welfare risks presented, and the best form of support to offer. There is additional useful advice on the Counter Terorrism Police website Action Against Terrorism (ACT), which points out that reporting won't ruin lives, but it might save them.

The Office for Students (OfS) as the monitoring body for the Prevent duty requires a statutory annual statistical report on the number of welfare concerns consdiered by specialised staff, and the number that have been escalated to the University Prevent lead. No personal data is included within this report. If you have any concerns about this process, please contact Prevent@exeter.ac.uk

This list is not exhaustive, and it should be noted that many of these indicators are totally innocent in themselves, or may be indicators of other wellbeing issues. However, a combination or sense that things “aren’t right” may be a cause for concern.

  • Noticeable changes in peer group, religious practices, and/or activism
  • Projecting a strong sense of unmet aspirations or injustice
  • A strong conviction that their religion or culture is under threat
  • Self-isolation – becoming withdrawn and not wanting to engage with society
  • Posts on social media espousing extremist views

It is also worth noting that “extreme” ideas can cover a very broad spectrum of beliefs, for example having sympathy for the Far Right, the Far Left, Daesh, Pro-Life campaigns, Anti-vivisection, anti LGBT. Holding views that are “extreme” may not be illegal. It is when these views become or are at risk of becoming supportive of violence or illegality that a concern should be raised. 

Further information on signs to look out for are provided on the Counter Terrorism Policing web page: Action Counters Terrorism (ACT). 

A review will be conducted internally, by members of staff who have been trained to assess such risks. This review will form a view on whether the individual is at risk of being drawn into illegal extremism, or whether other wellbeing factors are at play. If the risk is not deemed to be related to extremism or terrorism, alternative University support processes will be offered. Concerns are screened at this stage to avoid inappropriate onward referral.

If the review finds that there is a risk with regard to terrorism or extremism, external advice from expert partners will be sought based on anonymised data. If the partner agrees with the University finding, the individual will be spoken to, and consent normally sought to refer externally for additional support. If there is an immediate threat or risk to self or others, consent will not be sought. Again, if there is found to be no risk with regard to terrorism or extremism, the individual will be referred via alternative University support processes.

The University Prevent Support Referrals process details the steps that will be taken internally by the University should a concern be identified.

External support is arranged via a Channel multi-agency panel, consisting of local authority partners, social workers, religious organisations, counsellors and youth groups. The make-up of the panel will vary according to the needs of the individual. A plan will be tailored to support them.

Apart from the above, personal data will not be shared externally unless formally requested under criminal investigation, providing that the data is relevant to that investigation. 

If you are worried about the wellbeing, welfare or safety of a fellow student, the first option would be to speak to them, and recommend that they either contact welfare@exeter.ac.uk, speak to their personal tutor, or an alternative member of staff that they trust. The Wellbeing website has an advice page with useful information for situations such as these. 

If you really don’t feel able to speak to them, then all of these options are open to you on the individual’s behalf, in confidence. Further advice is offered on our Advice for Family and Friends web page. If you do speak to us on their behalf, we will need to know who the concern relates to, in order to offer them support.

It is important to note that this process applies only where no crime has yet been committed. If you believe that a criminal act has already occurred, you should report this to the police.