Prevent Watch

Eroding Trust: The Prevent strategy in health and education based on 87 interviews

Prevent strategy counter-extremism education UK open society report

A landmark in the study of the Prevent strategy in education and health, this extensive 152-page report on how the UK’s counter extremism strategy Prevent is damaging trust in these sectors, is based on over 87 interviews, legal research and public material.

Entitled ‘Eroding Trust’ and authored by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), the report – published in October 2016assesses the human rights impact of Prevent in the health and education sectors, in particular on the trust they need to function effectively.

Featuring compelling cases, key takeaways for current debates on Prevent and mental health include the fact the impact of Prevent on the therapeutic relationship, something underlined in more recent reports by MedAct.

This report produces compelling case study evidence, including that Prevent can lead to psychologists not employing “unconditional positive regard, particularly where it intersects with prejudice that is there already, and lack of knowledge and understanding”.

It notes “a number of cases in which other psychologists … shared confidential information [to Prevent] about their patients without informing their patients or obtaining their consent”.

It cites specific cases where individuals diagnosed with mental illness such as schizophrenia who posed no threat of violence, then encountered the police on their doorstep thanks to a Prevent referral. Another person with learning disabilities was referred without their knowledge. There are many other such compelling cases in the report.

The report notes that when psychologists have raised concerns about trust in relation to Prevent, they are told “this is just like managing risk”.

This report by the OSJI concluded that Prevent creates a serious risk of human rights violations, that it is counterproductive, and that it is damaging the trust on which public service is built.

The full report is HERE.

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