Prevent strategy: safeguarding freedom of expression and preventing stigma

Professor Lisa Downing and Dr Jonathan Hurlow

60 minutes


February 2021

CPD domain:

Learning module

Prevent strategy.jpg

Psychiatrists are required 'in the exercise of [their] functions' to 'have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism' (Section 26(1) of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015). When carrying out their Prevent duty, psychiatrists may find themselves in situations where their ethical commitment to freedom of expression and wish to avoid perpetuating social stigma are challenged by, or appear in conflict with, this duty.

In response to the enactment of this statutory duty, the Royal College of Psychiatrists' (RCPsych's) Professional Practice and Ethics Committee offers guidance on ethical considerations arising from the Government's counter-terrorism strategy in Position Statement PS04/16S. This includes specific guidance on the risk of perpetuating stigma for people with 'mental illness', 'certain communities', and those who 'dissent against authority'.

This module should enable participants to learn and practise how to critically evaluate the risk of reducing freedom of expression and perpetuating stigma, while upholding this statutory duty.


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