De Forensische Zorgspecialisten

A safe and liveable society

De Forensische Zorgspecialisten offer sustainable solutions that contribute to a safer society, based on a human approach to patients, clients, employees and victims. As a service provider in forensic care we offer a broad range of expertise and services. We are specialists in a wide variety of fields, we work with both inpatients and outpatients and we develop trendsetting instruments at the international level. We invest in high-quality research, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and reintegration. All these activities are guided by our mission: a safe and liveable society.

Leading the way in innovation

We believe in cooperation and consultation. Moreover, we advocate transparency of practices and results and we ourselves work hard to achieve this through clear record-keeping. We think out-of-the-box and lead the way in innovations, for example by promoting transparency in the sector and encouraging the sector-wide sharing of best practices.

Departments

De Forensische Zorgspecialisten comprise:

  • Van der Hoeven Kliniek 
  • de Waag 
  • Forensische Polikliniek Kindermishandeling.  

Van der Hoeven Kliniek

De Van der Hoeven Kliniek is a centre for clinical forensic psychiatry which treats patients’ disorders with the aim of reducing the likelihood of relapse (recidivism) as far as possible. 

The clinic offers customized care; it treats where possible and limits where necessary. This process is supported by the thorough communication and patient transfer that takes place when cooperating with transmural partners.

The clinic takes a multidisciplinary approach within a tightly structured clinic community; the clinic staff conduct evidence-based treatments. The clinic has branches in both Utrecht and Amersfoort.

De Waag

De Waag provides low-threshold and specialized care on an outpatient basis for people suffering from a mental disorder combined with transgressive behaviour. The policlinic provides treatment as well as research and advice regarding domestic violence, aggression within the family, sexually transgressive behaviour and other criminal behaviour.

De Waag treats clients aged 12 and older, either with a legal referral or who have themselves volunteered for treatment. The forensic specialists at de Waag provide customized treatment for each individual client, using the latest, most effective and evidence-based treatment methods and in close collaboration with supply chain partners.

Forensische Polikliniek Kindermishandeling

Forensische Polikliniek Kindermishandeling (FPKM) makes a contribution to children’s safety. This policlinic carries out injury diagnosis for children between the ages of 0 and 18. This enables forensic-paediatric doctors to objectify injuries in cases of suspected abuse – an issue of crucial importance for taking measures to promote the child’s safety.

Children are entitled to proper examination and to recognition of their problems. The FPKM promotes the interests of the child by identifying and interpreting facts. This gives children a voice. Within this concept, the FPKM is the leading expertise centre in the Netherlands in the field of female genital mutilation.

Situations of victims

We respect victims and their relatives. This is why we maintain close contacts with victim and peer support organizations. And before a patient goes on leave, we consider what consequences this has for victim(s) or their families. If victims feel the need, and if a patient has learned to take responsibility for his/her actions, we consider whether there are possibilities for a face-to-face dialogue between offender and victim(s).

Before leave is granted, we conduct a victim survey. This analysis charts the possible consequences and safety risks for victim(s) or their environment that might result from leave being granted to inmates of special forensic psychiatric (TBS) institutions or forensic psychiatric patients. The assessment can lead to conditions being set for the leave provision, such as imposition of a prohibited area. De Forensische Zorgspecialisten maintains contact with three victims' organizations: Victim Support [Slachtofferhulp Nederland], Information Course of Detention [Informatie Detentie Verloop] (IDV) and Slachtoffer in Beeld (Victim-Offender Dialogue).

Peer support organizations

In addition to this, we maintain contacts with the peer support organizations: Ouders van vermoorde kinderen (‘Parents of murdered children’), Aandacht doet spreken (a victim support organization), Vereniging voor Veiligheid, Respect en Solidariteit (‘Association for safety, respect and solidarity’). As part of this process we share experiences and see what we can learn from each other, with the aim of strengthening the position of the victim with respect to leave applications.

Victim-offender dialogues

Victim-offender dialogues are often helpful for both a victim or his/her relatives and for an offender. The safety of all participants is guaranteed during these dialogues. The process can help the victim to come to terms with the event because he/she can state the consequences that a crime has had on his/her life. Furthermore, during a face-to-face meeting the victim can often adjust his/her image of the offender. For the offender, a dialogue can form part of the treatment, because it helps to raise his/her awareness of the deed. Dialogues between offender and victim(s) are only possible if the offender is able to take responsibility for his/her deeds.

Individual Healthcare Professions Act training programmes

De Forensische Zorgspecialisten provides a training programme under the Individual Healthcare Professions Act (BIG) to train healthcare psychologists, psychotherapists and clinical psychologists. These professions are legally anchored in the Individual Healthcare Professions Act. The multi-year training programmes are intended as follow-up programmes for graduate psychologists, educationalists and mental health specialists. Both de Waag and the Van der Hoeven Kliniek provide the practical elements of the programme in which participants give their therapies and receive supervision, while the PDO-GGZ foundations provide the theoretical elements.

Knowledge and research

Knowledge lies at the root of human progress, and for this reason we underpin our human approach with scientific studies. We always seek the most appropriate approach and instruments for our target group. The instruments developed at De Forensische Zorgspecialisten receive international recognition. Several of our risk assessment tools have been translated into various languages and have been implemented into clinical practice around the world. We use research to monitor the effectiveness of our treatment and risk assessment practice.

Research

International recognition

Providing the best forms of treatment contributes to a safer society. Our approach is that of customized work: we investigate how we can better assess the risks involved with specific groups. Here we refine methods for groups such as women, sexual delinquents or people with a mild intellectual disability, enabling us to provide them with more effective care.

Research is a very important aspect for us and thus takes place in all sections of De Forensische Zorgspecialisten. We have a research department with specialists in different areas of forensic psychiatry. Some of our staff are also professors in their field and several practitioners are given the opportunity to obtain a doctorate.
De Forensische Zorgspecialisten pioneered the national Risk Assessment database which records risk assessment data from clinics in the Netherlands.

Translations

Various instruments developed by De Forensische Zorgspecialisten have gained international recognition. To give one example, SAPROF (Structured Assessment of Protective Factors for violence risk) has now been translated into 15 languages, including English, German, French, Spanish and Japanese. The SAPROF is a risk assessment instrument specifically for the assessment of protective factors for violent behaviour (see www.saprof.com). Recently, a youth version of the SAPROF was also developed (SAPROF-YV), which has now been translated into several languages as well. The Female Additional Manual (FAM), an additional risk assessment tool specifically for the assessment of risk factors for female violence, is also receiving considerable international interest and several translations of this tool are available (see www.violencebywomen.com). As a result, our specialists regularly give workshops and presentations abroad.

Collaborations

The Research department collaborates with various universities and institutions. For example, they work together with the University of Amsterdam to research risk assessment for sexual delinquents. They collaborate with the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam to carry out a national research study on juvenile risk assessment and protective factors in the various Juvenile Justice Institutions (JJI's) across The Netherlands. They participate in an extensive project by the University of Maastricht for researching schema therapy for people with a personality disorder. De Forensische Zorgspecialisten also participates in the ‘Landelijke Databank Risicotaxatie tbs’ (National Databank Risk Assessment – Special Forensic Psychiatric Institutions), which records the risk assessment data from all forensic psychiatric hospitals in the Netherlands.

International publications

The knowledge we develop is shared with others through conferences and publications in leading international journals. Staff of the department also regularly produce reviews for these journals.

Training programmes

De Forensische Zorgspecialisten not only acquires knowledge but is also happy to share this with others. To this end, staff regularly organize workshops, guest lectures and presentations at international congresses. Furthermore, they provide training programmes for both the organization’s own staff and for external parties. The organization also trains its own staff to become healthcare psychologists, psychotherapists and clinical psychologists.

Innovation

We are continually introducing new research methods, thus linking research to practice. The knowledge and experience of practitioners are the core element, and they are always involved in the development of new instruments. Where possible we ensure that these build on existing instruments. If no good instruments are available, we develop them ourselves or adapt existing ones.

Some examples of innovative developments in which De Forensische Zorgspecialisten is involved:

  • 'Kernset outpatient risk assessement', is a recently in collaboration with other Dutch outpatient care providers developed tool for the assessment of the core risk factors for outpatient violence risk.
  • Protective factors (SAPROF and SAPROF-Youth Version), assessment of protective or risk-reducing factors that help to lower the risk of violent recidivism and increase the likelihood of successful re-integration in society.
  • Female offending, a multicentre research project on gender differences in forensic psychiatry, including a focus on specific risk factors for violence to others and to self in women (FAM). 
  • Specific treatment for patients with a history of sexual offending behaviour.

(Inter)national initiatives

Researchers from De Forensische Zorgspecialisten are involved in diverse national and international initiatives. In addition to publishing their research in international forensic psychiatric journals, they provide presentations, workshops and lectures at international conferences. They sit on various program committees for conferences and supervisory committees for a range of different research projects.