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  • Writer's pictureSarah - Mom of a Former

Parents And Prevent

As a parent of a son who got involved in the Extreme Right Wing (ERW) in his early teenage years. I understand the importance of programmes such as Prevent.

Prior to his involvement and having no experience of extremism, if I was asked I probably would have underestimated the importance of this programme.

I was not aware this programme even existed, yet it played a pivotal role in saving my son, myself and my family from more misery and trauma you could ever imagine, and they also helped my son back onto the right path in life.

With the help of Prevent my son stopped spreading hatred, and started using his story to promote a greater understanding of the dangers of Extremism. Instead of creating division, he now supports inclusivity. He now recognises that freedom of speech does not exclude any race or any religion. 

He no longer targets hatred towards certain groups instead he advocates tolerance, compassion and understanding towards all groups within society.

When I realised that John had become involved in the ERW. I was too scared and ashamed and confused to reach out to anyone. 

I feared that not only would I be judged in a negative way, but that he would too.

I was scared to get him into trouble, and that would then impact his education and future.

So I tried to tackle it on my own, and over several months I confronted him, I screamed at him, I tried to reason with him but nothing I said or did had any kind of positive effect.

In fact I only made things worse. I increased his desire to prove himself to be correct, because of me he spent more time on the forums and talking to others to find information that would refute what i had said. 

The arguments and confrontations about our differing opinions that we had on the daily pushed my once loving son away from me. My attempts to support him created a distance between us that I had never experienced before. I was losing him and not only was I powerless to stop it, but I was made to feel like I was actively pushing him away, simply because I could not and would not get behind his views and opinions. 

The time spent agonising over what to do and trying to resolve this mess alone, only enabled John to stay within those organisations longer,that allowed him to become more embedded within the movement ,and spread more misinformation and hatred. That increased the emotional damage and trauma to John, myself, family, friends and everyone else that was on the receiving end of his views and opinions.

I felt like it was my duty as his Mum to fix this and it was down to my failure as his Mum as to how we ended up here in the first place.

I realise now how  wrong that thought process was and how it could not be any further from the truth. 

If your child becomes unwell you take them to the GP. 

If they need specialised medical intervention you take them to professionals in that field.

Many parents rely on trained professionals to educate their children.

We even rely on trained professionals to give advice about their teeth and gums.

So why as parents can we be so against the support of a programme such as Prevent?

It makes no sense to me now. 

As a mum who has experienced the trauma and damage that Extremism and Radicalisation brings, my advice would be… do not wait!!

Would you wait in any other situation regarding your loved ones wellbeing?.

This is very unlikely to be just a phase. Nor will it just go away.

Besides, what are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for the police to knock at your door because of the material that your loved one may be consuming or sharing??, and if you don't think that happens here are a few articles that will say something different.

Do you want your loved one to become the next headline?

Maybe you are waiting until everyone around you thinks that your loved one is just a vile racist and bigoted human being, and all relationships that surround you and they become detached or broken.

Or maybe you are waiting for your loved one to actually go out there and commit a criminal act in person or with other like-minded people. 

Let's be very real - How does it make you feel knowing that your loved one is trying to scare and intimidate other human beings who are just trying to live their life?. 

So the choice is yours. Stay silent and live with all the above, or seek help and change many lives including your own.

With the support of Prevent, My life is so much different today.

I can sleep peacefully. My son and I are much closer than we once were. 

I no longer have to worry about him in the same way, he is a productive member of society.

I walk around with my head held up high and I can tell the world how proud I am of him.

Others around us have seen the changes too. It took them more time to put their trust and believe the changes he made but once they saw it was genuine they got on board.

They now have a lot of respect and are very proud of the man he has become. 

My son never shed away from taking accountability for his involvement either, he took the lessons he learned and turned them into something powerful. “Knowledge”. 

He now  educates people nationwide about the dangers of getting involved in the ERW using his own experiences to show people getting involved in extremism doesn't make things better, it makes things worse.

Today i also seek to help others and educate people about the impact the ERW has on families. 

Together we want to make a positive difference and that is our way of giving back for what Prevent gave to us.

If you have any concerns and need someone to talk to please do not hesitate.

Pick up the phone today and talk to someone.

You can get support and advice from ACT Early, just call 0800 011 3764 in confidence to share your concerns with a specially trained officer. The Support Line is open 9:00 am - 5 PM every day. Their website is -

Alternatively you can reach out to us here at Exit Hate for lived experience support. Just email - or visit to find out more.

Remember… What are you waiting for??. Tomorrow might be too late.

Sarah - Exit Family Support Officer


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