Doctoral research

We offer a great deal of scope for knowledge development. This is the reason why doctoral research projects are always being conducted at the hospital. For example, research is currently being conducted on the SAPROF and two doctoral research projects are focusing on the dynamic risk factors applicable for and the pharmacotherapeutic treatment of sex offenders.

Besides this, doctoral research on the treatment provided in the event of psychopathy has started too. This research has been launched further to the book ’Behandeling van psychopathie: A mission impossible?’, which was written by healthcare professionals from De Forensische Zorgspecialisten. This research assesses the treatment programme on the basis of the What Works principles. We are also using the recidivism monitor to establish how we can assess risks even better and prevent recidivism.

Doctoral research: treatment allocation to sex offenders can be improved on the basis of risk assessment tools

One way to reduce the number of victims of sex offences is to prevent recidivism by convicted sex offenders by giving them targeted treatment. It is a known fact that these interventions are most effective for sex offenders when offenders that present the greatest risk receive the most intensive treatments (treatment under a hospital order, for example). The doctoral research done by Wineke Smid, a researcher at the Van der Hoeven Kliniek, shows that the use of risk assessment tools is vital to be able to identify sex offenders with the greatest risk of recidivism (less than 10% of the 474 convicted sex offenders researched) when they are convicted. In the Netherlands, a pro-justitia report is prepared for far from all sex offenders who are standing trial. When this is done, only sporadic use is made of risk assessment tools and the score is not directional for the treatment advice given. The study has shown that it would be more effective and more efficient if the treatment allocated to sex offenders in the Netherlands were to be established on the basis of their risk of recidivism. The systematic use of a suitable tool is essential here.

Doctoral research: functional diagnostics for the ‘executive functions’

In this doctoral research, the applicability and practicability of functional diagnostics for the ‘executive functions’ are researched for a forensic psychiatric population. Important questions raised in this research are the connection between the ‘executive functions’ measured and indicators for self control and impulsiveness (including risk assessment data), incidents during treatment and recidivism after treatment. The research also studies whether or not there are any differences between sex offenders and comparison groups in terms of cognitive response (time) tasks and the connection between these tasks and questionnaires for self control and sexual problems. This research, conducted by Edwin Wever, a researcher at the Van der Hoeven Kliniek, is relevant for professional practice because the (objective) measurement of ‘executive functions’ can result in better diagnostics and the improved treatment (monitoring) of psychiatric disorders. It focuses specifically on sexual problems, self control and impulsiveness.

Doctoral research: the recidivism monitor

Since 2006, Lobke Keune, a researcher, has been using a recidivism monitor to produce a (quantitative and qualitative) analysis of recidivism by patients who have been discharged from the Van der Hoeven Kliniek. The quantitative analyses focus on the comparative ability of the monitor with the national recidivism figures established by the Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum (WODC)), while the qualitative analyses focus on the learning ability of the monitor. Based on the substantive analyses, the recidivism data are fed back to the treatment provided at an individual level, with the object of improving the treatment provided. An essential aspect of this feedback loop to the treatment provided is the comparison of re-offenders and non-re-offenders to generate an insight into the distinctiveness of critical factors that are linked to a certain type of recidivism by this specific group of patients and also to generate an insight into factors that are linked to non-recidivism.

Van der Hoeven Kliniek is onderdeel van De Forensische Zorgspecialisten