Vulnerable people, including children, young people, and vulnerable adults, can be exploited by people who seek to involve them in terrorism or activity in support of terrorism. There is a multi-agency approach, led by the council, which looks at referrals of people at risk of being drawn into terrorism and decides whether or not action needs to be taken. This approach, which is called ‘Channel’, works alongside the safeguarding partnerships to protect people at risk from radicalisation.
You can read more about our Safeguarding Adults Board and Safeguarding Children Board.
Channel is looking at people’s vulnerabilities early and reducing the risk of harm. Where people holding extremist views appear to be moving towards terrorism, they clearly become relevant to Channel multiagency boards. Otherwise, they do not. They are likely to have been identified as holding extreme yet legitimate ideas, but have been assessed as being at risk of moving from that position into one of criminality.
It is always good safeguarding practice to involve the vulnerable person in any support activity and offer them as much choice as possible in the process. Channel follows this same idea.
It should be stressed that, at this stage, the person has not committed any offence.
Channel programmes are prioritised around areas and places of higher risk, defined as those where terrorist groups and their sympathisers have been most active. However, Channel interventions can take place anywhere, regardless of whether or not that place has been designated as a priority area.
Channel is completely confidential and open. The person at risk is approached and can decline to take part in any intervention.
You can read about the Channel part of the CONTEST strategy on GOV.UK:
GOV.UK - Channel guidance (external website)