Similarities have been drawn between radicalisation and child sexual exploitation (CSE), former chief Crown prosecutor for north-west England Nazir Afzal has announced.
Speaking at a recent event in Glasgow organised by charity Roshni, Mr Afzal – who helped secure convictions in the Rochdale grooming trial – expressed concerns that terrorist groups are using the same process to either groom vulnerable young people for sex or acts of terrorism.
The Rochdale case surrounded nine young men who ran a CSE ring in the Greater Manchester area involving girls as young as 13.
Roshni, the charity that works with Scotland?s ethnic minority communities, set up the event after an increasing number of young people are attempting to leave the UK to join the terrorist group known as Islamic State.
It is known that two young people, Abdul Rakib Amin from Aberdeen and Aqsa Mahmood from Glasgow, are among those who have travelled to Syria.
Mr Afzal explained: “In the first stage, the child is manipulated. A young person feels unwanted, unloved, misunderstood in some way and somebody comes along, either some charismatic person or online, and says ?I want you?, ?I understand you?. The young person thinks somebody is finally listening to them.
“Generally, these people know what buttons to press. Having manipulated them, the next stage is distancing, where they tell the young person not to trust anybody else ? don?t trust your family, don?t trust your friends. The third stage is sexual abuse, or with radicalisation, it?s taking them away. The process is the same.”
Mr Afzal finished his speech by expressing the urgent need for professionals such as doctors and teachers to receive training in spotting the danger signs of CSE and radicalisation.
The Safeguarding Children e-Academy hosted the Spring Advisory Panel Meeting (APM) - a quarterly coming together of experienced professionals who specialise in safeguarding.
The theme of the APM was radicalisation and featured a presentation from Dr Dave Sloggett, a leading authority on the subject.
His presentation was entitled ?Perspectives on Radicalisation? and reasoned that safeguarding vulnerable people is key to preventing them starting the journey to being radicalised.
Click here to see a summary of Dr Sloggett's presentation.
Did you know we?ve worked with Dr Dave Sloggett and safeguarding boards to develop an online course around Radicalisation, Extremism and Prevent?