Wokingham Borough Council is reminding residents to stay safe online this National Hate Crime Awareness Week (8 to 15 October).
Unfortunately, there is a link between hate crime and hateful extremism, with many incidents now taking place online.
Hateful extremism is behaviour that can incite and amplify hate, or when someone engages in persistent hatred motivated by hostile or supremacist beliefs. It often involves the justification of violence to cause harm to individuals or communities.
Cllr Ian Shenton, executive member for environment, sport and leisure, said: “Much like hate crime, we all have a part to play in protecting people from extremism and radicalisation. Groups often target individuals when they are vulnerable, saying they understand their pain and want to help them, when in reality they are seeking to spread hate and use that person for their own gain.
“If you are a parent or carer and you are worried about your child being exposed to extremism, talk to them about hate speech, engage with them about what they are doing online and consider installing controls on their devices, or agree how much time they should spend online.”
Spotting the warning signs
Extremists use the internet and social media to spread their ideology, hate, fake news and conspiracy theories. They actively target, exploit and groom children and young people.
PREVENT is a government programme designed to safeguard anyone who may be vulnerable to all forms of extremism or radicalisation. The aim is to act early to spot the warning signs of someone being drawn or groomed into extremist ideologies to provide early intervention and support.
Warning signs include:
- Becoming withdrawn and no longer participating in usual activities
- Expressing feelings of anger, grievance and injustice
- Going missing from their home, school or care setting
- Joining a new group of friends who have extremist ideologies
- Using language that supports “us and them” model of thinking
- Possessing or searching for extremist literature online
The internet, social media and online gaming are methods being used to groom and radicalise people and in the year ending March 2021 people aged 15 to 20 accounted for the largest proportion (29%) of national referrals to Prevent.
The council works with the police, along with partners in health, probation services, schools and colleges, to help reduce the threat of radicalisation. It also chairs a multi-agency partnership of professionals called a Channel Panel, which provides support to vulnerable individuals who are at risk of being influenced by extremist ideologies.
How to counter hate on social media:
If you are reporting a concern for a child, email email@example.com or call (0118) 908 8002. If your concern is for an adult, contact the Adult Safeguarding Hub at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (0118) 9746371.
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