Grooming and Radicalisation

We were given a lecture by Revd Dr Paul Fitzpatrick who works in the counter terrorism unit within the university, works with the Home Office and is a Dr in Psychology. The lecture was focused on grooming and radicalisation.

It was a very intense lecture that explored the results of grooming and pointers to look out for. To sum it up, grooming is preparing for abuse.

Abuse Pre-Determines:

  • Vulnerability
  • Isolation
  • Insecurity
  • Injustice
  • Intolerance

Grooming works because it restructures the way we think. Through this alteration it makes it more difficult to undo the damage.

When looking at memory and identity; identity is based upon narrative. With memory it can be altered by the individual, for example; after this lecture everyone will have a different memory of it. Therefore our memories are not fixed, we play with them and alter them.

Whatever has taken place in a person’s life is their narrative and they all build up together to create that persons identity. When that becomes at risk, radicalisation can take place. It begins with a perceived injustice. This leads on to a need for identity. Finally there is a need for belonging.

As human contact is crucial, this need to belong isolates people and makes them vulnerable. Qualities groomers look out for in individuals.

Students are at particular risk as they are altering their thought patterns and are therefore open to more risk of Developmental Grooming:

  • Cognitive Opening then
  • –> Religious Seeking then
  • –>Frame Alignment – changes the way you think gently (by around 2%) then
  • –>Socialisation then
  • –>Commitment.

We should also be looking out for not only the choice of words used, but also the way they are being said and the tone used.

One of the key points behind this lecture was to not only become more aware of the dangers of grooming but to also be aware of the content that we as graphic design students use within projects. As sensitive or explicit content is illegal and contact with a lecturer is essential before undertaking the work. There is a connection between graphic design and radicalisation and grooming because they are tools that can be used to slightly alter peoples perception or view on a subject.

Overall, I thought it was an very interesting talk and a subject area to bear in mind not only in general, but also within my graphic design work. It is clearly a serious issue that is constantly taking place within the UK. But what I found most interesting was the Psychology behind it all, learning about how the brain works and processes information is all very interesting to me because having an insight into people’s minds and the way they work can influence the way I behave or influence the work I do.


Author: marislathamgraphics

I am a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University studying BA Hons Graphic Communication.

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