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Radicalisation and extremism

Information to help you understand what this means to you and people you know.

You may have seen news stories about people committing terrorist attacks in this country or in other parts of the world, where causing fear and using violence are used in the name of a belief or viewpoint.

The terms radicalisation and extremism are often mentioned when people talk about terrorist attacks.


This can happen when someone is befriended, groomed or manipulated into believing that it is right to use harmful behaviour and language to express their views about things like politics, ethnicity or faith.


When someone becomes radicalised in this way, and uses harmful behaviour like this, it is known as extremism. When someone also uses violence to express their beliefs, extremism becomes terrorism.

People who commit acts of extremism are often vulnerable themselves and influenced by others. They might have already felt lonely, worthless, scared, angry, bullied, voiceless, or frustrated when a group or person manipulated these feelings.

Most people who feel like this would never cause pain to themselves or others, and don’t get involved in extremism, but sadly a few people do. This is because they were radicalised by others into blaming a certain group of people for the bad things happening in their own lives.

Getting help

Thankfully things like this are very rare. It can be scary and frustrating to think we can’t change things and that we are powerless, but there are many other ways to make our voices heard without using violence.

It is important to understand that you always have options. If you or someone you know feels like any of this, talk to someone such as a:

  • teacher or tutor
  • parent or guardian
  • foster carer
  • family member
  • community or faith leader.

Further information

There is more information on our Preventing radicalisation and extremism page on the main County Council website.

Last updated:
28 April 2021
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