Press release: Civil society organisations call for the withdrawal of the Shawcross Report

London 21st March 2023 – Over 200 civil society organisations, community leaders and
professionals have in a joint statement called for the Shawcross report to be withdrawn.


Amnesty International, Rights & Security International and Child Rights International Network and
many more strongly criticise the review that was ideologically shaped, partial in its discussion of
evidence and replete with errors. Implementing these recommendations increases issues of
discrimination, free speech and child protection already inherent in Prevent.


To support this call, we today publish an evidenced-based response to the Shawcross Report.
Prevent experts Prof John Holmwood and Dr Layla Aitlhadj, authors of the People’s Review of
Prevent, have detailed in a 72-page response on how the Shawcross report is flawed.


Their response warns that by adopting Mr Shawcross’s recommendations, the government risks:

  • endorsing ideologically led policy where Prevent is placed under the direct control of a
    politically-appointed ‘commissar’ within the Home Office, with no legal accountability or
    parliamentary oversight,
  • proposing that Muslim-led civil society organisations are ‘extremist’ and ‘Islamist’ by virtue of
    their expression of Islam in the public sphere, and especially when challenging policy,
  • supporting rhetorical claims about increased threats from ‘Islamist extremism’ that are not
    sustained by data available to the report from the Home Office,
  • perpetuating further harms to children and vulnerable adults by going against the logical
    argument that follows from his own evidence: that Prevent is unnecessary in schools and in


Dr Layla Aitlhadj, co-author of the report, said:
“At least six children are referred to Prevent for every school day. Shawcross reinforces the fact
that Prevent is not safeguarding, however he fails to take this to its logical conclusion, which is to
remove it from schools. If his proposals are implemented, it will lead to more children being
referred to prevent. We call for the Shawcross Report to be withdrawn”


Prof John Holmwood, co-author of the report, said:
“Not only has Mr Shawcross fulfilled the prediction of the over 100 groups that boycotted his
review that this was only a political exercise, but his report signals that the ‘independent review’
process is now a means of influence rather than of actual review. This is a subversion of
democratic processes and a slide into authoritarianism; as such, we call for the Shawcross Report
to be withdrawn.”


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