Ethical considerations arising from the Government's counter-terrorism strategy

by Dr Jonathan Hurlow, Dr Richard Burrows, Dr Saba Mattar and Dr Shazad Farooq


Last updated: January 2021


Section 26(1) of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 states that specified authorities, including healthcare bodies, 'must, in the exercise of [their] functions, have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.'


In his assessment of the 2017 attacks in London and Manchester, Lord Anderson QC highlighted the importance of ensuring that all suitable individuals are referred to Prevent (part of the Government's wider CONTEST anti-terrorism strategy) and that there is a reinforcement of the process and statutory duties (Anderson, 2017).


It can be difficult to reflect objectively about the potential pitfalls and risks that this duty creates. In its Position Statement PS04/16, The Royal College of Psychiatrists identified that 'for the psychiatric profession, these include ethical, clinical, professional-boundary and confidentiality issues.' This module should equip participants with the knowledge and opportunities to weigh up these challenges in keeping with principles of good psychiatric practice.


This module focuses on the contents of the Professional Practice & Ethics Committee supplemental position statement: Ethical considerations arising from the government's counter-terrorism strategy. Supplement to: Counter-terrorism and psychiatry (PS04/16S) (RCPsych, 2017a).


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It is recommended that you also complete the Level 3 Working to Raise Awareness of Prevent (WRAP) training; this training should be provided by your employing health trust if you work in the NHS.

Additionally you can complete the following e-LfH modules: 


If you like this module, you may also be interested in:

A guide to clinical ethics in psychiatry by Dr Steve Pearce and Dr Jacinta Tan


Psychiatric aspects of homicide by Dr Darran Bloye and Dr Anna Machin


Prison psychiatry: Part 1 and Part 2 by Dr Lisa Gardiner


BJPsych Advances: related articles for CPD Online


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