Probleemgericht werken aan High Impact Crime

Inleiding en context

Ik wens jullie allemaal een beste nieuwe werkweek toe op deze maandag 15 augustus 2022. Ik ben er gistermiddag even voor gaan zitten en heb deze nieuwe ´kennisparel´ voor jullie in de aanbieding, gratis voor niets! Die parel gaat over het mogelijke verband tussen terrorisme en psychische problemen door te focussen op de prevalentie, tijdelijkheid en aannemelijkheid. Hierbij wordt rekening gehouden met het onderscheid tussen mentale stoornis en psychologische problemen. Dit is trouwens het bijbehorende liedje bij de parel van vandaag: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bej93aPldHE

Op basis van de synthese biedt de ´kennisparel´ geen ondersteuning voor de bewering dat steekproeven van terroristische daders worden gekenmerkt door hogere percentages van geestelijke gezondheidsproblemen dan die zijn waargenomen in de algemene bevolking. Er rekening mee houdend dat er methodologische beperkingen zijn in de geëxtraheerde onderzoeken ligt de schatting van de levenslange prevalentie voor psychische stoornissen dicht bij de prevalentie die wordt gemeten in de algemene bevolking en de daarbij behorende betrouwbaarheidsintervallen. Die vallen binnen het bereik van wat wordt verwacht bij de algemene bevolking. De uitzondering kan lone actor terrorisme zijn, waar de uitkomsten aanzienlijk hoger waren dan bij alle andere vormen van terrorisme samen. Maar zelfs hier zijn de percentages in grote lijnen in overeenstemming met wat wordt verwacht binnen de algemene bevolking. Een wat onverwachte uitkomst naar mijn mening maar wel relevant voor het beleid in Nederland bij de aanpak van radicalisering en terrorisme.

Bron

Sarma, Kiran M., Sarah L. Carthy & Katie M. Cox (September 2022). Mental disorder, psychological problems and terrorist behaviour: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Campbell Systematic Reviews, vol. 18, no. 3, September, pp. 1-65. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cl2.1268

Samenvatting

There has been an increasing focus on the potential role of mental health difficulties in the process of violent radicalisation into terrorism. In part, this has been fuelled by studies appearing to show high prevalence rates in some samples of terrorists. However, findings are inconsistent, with some studies reporting higher rates than those observed in the general population, some lower, and others that are comparable to those observed in the general population. This review synthesises the prevalence rates of mental health difficulties in terrorist samples (Objective 1—Prevalence) and prevalence of mental health disorders pre-dating involvement in terrorism (Objective 2—Temporality). The review also synthesises the extent to which mental health difficulties are associated with terrorist involvement compared to non-terrorist samples (Objective 3—Risk Factor). In addressing these objectives, the review offers an initial assessment of what we refer to as the mental health-terrorism hypothesis (that mental health difficulties are a risk factor for terrorist involvement). Tentative support for the hypothesis would be provided where studies, when collated, suggest higher rates of difficulties in terrorist samples than those expected in the community. The review distinguishes between mental disorders, suspected mental disorders and psychological problems. These are collectively termed mental health difficulties.

For Objective 1, studies that report rates of mental health difficulties in terrorist samples are included. Studies were eligible even if the period after the terrorists became involved in terrorism is included. We identified 56 papers reporting on 73 terrorist samples that met this criterion. For Objective 2, studies from Objective 1 were included where they specifically reported rates of difficulties and where those difficulties emerged before the terrorist became involved in terrorism (or was first detected as being involved). Ten studies were included in this component of the review. Finally, for Objective 3, we included studies that compared rates of mental health difficulties in terrorist samples with non-terrorist samples. Nine eligible studies were included here.

Our findings do not support the assertion that there are remarkably high rates of mental health difficulties in the terrorist population. As a benchmark, we estimate that the lifetime prevalence rate of diagnosed mental disorder in the general population is 29%. For Objective 1 (Prevalence) we report that the lifetime prevalence rate of diagnosed mental disorder in terrorist samples was 17.4%. This increased to 23.2% for the studies reporting lifetime prevalence rates of suspected disorder, and 28.5% for studies reporting any psychological problems. At any one time, 14.4% of those involved in terrorism may have a disorder or suspected disorder (as opposed to a psychological problem). When we isolated studies that reported rates prior to either engagement in terrorism or detection for terrorist offences (Objective 2, Temporality), the lifetime prevalence rate for any psychological problem was 27.8%. Finally, based on single study estimates, the odds of having a lifetime history of mental health difficulties between those involved in terrorist behaviour and non-terrorist offending varied depending on the comparison group (Objective 3, Risk Factor).

The findings do not offer support for the mental health-terrorism hypothesis. Trends in the data, however, may point to higher rates among some terrorist samples than others, and in particular among lone-actor terrorists.

The synthesis could reflect methodological limitations in the studies included. Many studies rely on the media and court reporting, with researchers wholly reliant on these sources to determine whether or not mental health difficulties are present. This could lead to under-reporting (where such difficulties are not viewed as relevant to a criminal case for example) and thus deflate estimates reported in papers. That said, even among those papers that have not relied on open-source information, the evidence does not conclusively demonstrate that terrorist samples are characterised by higher rates of mental disorders or psychological problems than those expected in the community.

Afsluitend

Samengevat komen de bevindingen uit deze ´kennisparel´ erop neer dat er geen indicaties/bewijs is gevonden van een causaal verband tussen psychische problemen en het risico op betrokkenheid bij terroristisch gedrag. De auteurs pleiten voor meer genuanceerde manieren van denken over de rol die de geestelijke gezondheid kan spelen in het leven van degenen die het risico lopen betrokken te raken bij terrorisme.

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