Behavioural scientist Dr Elaine Pressman, Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
On Thursday 11 January, Dr Elaine Pressman was appointed Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. This honour was bestowed upon her by Minister Grapperhaus of Justice and Security, in recognition of her knowledge of and contribution to improved risk assessments for violent extremism.
Image: Robert Huiberts
Dr Pressman is a behavioural scientist, among other things. Thanks to her hard work and her collaboration with two psychiatrists from the Netherlands Institute of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology (NIFP) to create an improved violent extremism risk assessment, the NIFP has successfully made a name for itself as a centre of expertise on risk assessments of people suspected and convicted of violent extremism.
Dr Pressman has been an internationally renowned expert in the field of violent extremism risk assessments for over ten years. The Violent Extremism Risk Assessment (VERA) instrument she developed contributed enormously to international counterterrorist measures. Since then, she has developed the VERA-2R, with the help of experts from the NIFP. The VERA-2R is already the leading risk assessment instrument for violent extremism.
The VERA-2R helps identify and prosecute potential violent extremists at an early stage. Not only does the instrument serve a preventive purpose, it can also be used to evaluate programmes for combating violent extremism, both within and outside the prison system. The VERA-2R is used by forensic psychiatrists and psychologists, members of the police force and the probation service, the General Intelligence and Security Service and the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism. In the Netherlands, the VERA-2R instrument is also used to discuss issues related to differentiation in the field of terrorism. The instrument is already being put to use in numerous other countries in the EU, as well as in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, among others.
The European Committee in Brussels has recognised the VERA-2R as the most promising standard. Partly on this basis, the NIFP has received a grant for creating a European database and training European judicial partners. With this, the NIFP has become an international expertise centre on risk assessments of potentially dangerous extremists.
Dr Pressman has transferred intellectual property of the VERA-2R instrument to the Netherlands Institute for Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. Over the coming years, she will continue to work with the NIFP to further improve the VERA-2R.