Prevent Watch

Mum with autistic son refuses Prevent officer in her home

prevent officer autistic teenager

Social services are evasive about why a Prevent officer with a background in working with drug addiction and anti-knife crime should be allowed to access and question an autistic child. 

Ali, was 18 years old when he was referred to Prevent by a member of his CAMHS team. Ali has autism and is known to display outbursts of emotions.

At one point during a trip with one of his mentors, Uthman, Ali lost his temper with him.

When another mentor asked how the relationship was going with Uthman, Ali replied: “I hate him; I feel like blowing his house up.”

His mother found it surprising that this response had led to her son being referred to Prevent, since Ali has little capability; he is unable to cook his own meals or travel.

Even Uthman, when informed of the comment of concern, told the mentor who made the referral that she had “taken this out of context”.

However, the referring mentor said, “ I have a duty to report this to Prevent”.

Social services evasive about Prevent officer

Ali’s mother was then contacted by a support worker, who said she would like to visit her at home. She did not make reference to bringing anyone with her.

However, a letter confirming the home visit referenced a “Home Office-approved Channel mentor”.

When Ali’s mother put in a complaint asking why an additional stranger was due to come to the home when Ali is vulnerable and this would disrupt his routine and familiarity, she was shocked to be told that the “representative” in question had a background in anti-knife crime, and that he had also worked with drug addiction.

After Ali’s mother made the complaint, she received a phone call informing her that the “representative” was in fact from Prevent and had been “approved by the Home Office”.

Mother’s trust in support services erodes

Ali’s mother was told that this individual would like to speak to her son. At this point, she told support services that she did not trust them.

She reiterated that her son had made the initial comment because he had simply been upset with his mentor and was not in any way “radicalised”.

Despite getting a new social services representative and despite exercising her right not to want to engage with Prevent, the social services insisted that Ali should engage and, if it helped, that they could have a legal representative present during the meeting.

Prevent Watch supported Ali’s mother in formally exercising her right to refuse engagement as Channel is supposed to be voluntary. There was no further contact from Prevent after this.

Picture by Leohoho on Unsplash.

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