History, action and capacity

This domain of the VERA-2R is relevant to an individual’s ability to plan and carry out a violent extremist action or attack.

This can include a criminal or violent past, specialized training the individual has received, access to the necessary persons to facilitate a violent extremist action and resources and materials.

Recent events have shown that a dedicated person may only require everyday possessions such as a car or a knife to carry out a successful violent extremist attack leading to death.

Nonetheless, specific training with explosives, extremist indoctrination and previous criminal behaviour remain salient

to the identification of the skills and capacity a person has available to facilitate violent extremist action. This capacity when combined with other indicators can have an influence on assessed risk of an individual.

HAC1 Early exposure to violence-promoting, militant ideology: Children exposed to terrorism and war-related violence can oftentimes internalize hatred for others whom they perceive as attackers or enemies. They may then retaliate against others later in life and thereby promote further violence (Garbarino et al., 2015).

HAC2 Network of family and friends involved in violent extremism: Horgan (2008) underlined the importance of blood relationships, friendship, romantic ties and personal preferences in the development of terrorists. This is supported by other researchers (Sageman, 2004, 2008; Goldson, 2011; Botha, 2014).

HAC3 Violent criminal history: In Western European countries, more than half of the recruits to IS states have criminal pasts, often as members of gangs, drug dealers, thieves or burglars (Basra, Neumann & Brunner, 2016; Böckler, Hoffmann, & Meloy, 2017; Weenink, 2019).

HAC4 Strategic, paramilitary and/or explosives training: Strategic, (para)military and explosives training creates greater ability to carry out terrorist actions.

HAC5 Training in extremist ideology in own country or abroad: Ideological training and indoctrination is available on the Internet or can take place through a group in one’s own country or abroad (Gendron, 2017).

HAC6 Organizational skills and access to funding and sources of help: Organizational skillsis an important risk factor for violent extremism (Fein & Vossekuil, 1998).