Repeated VERA-2R team assesments

The dynamic nature of radicalization and violent extremism necessitates repeated or follow-up VERA-2R assessments.

Repeated VERA-2R risk assessments are necessary to re-examine the risk status over the course of time to eventually adapt existing risk scenarios and risk management strategies. The general rule is that if new relevant information becomes available, a new VERA-2R risk assessment should be carried out.

Radicalised individuals or individuals who consider or plan violent extremist or terrorist actions are influenced or triggered by others or geopolitical or local events.

Very often this happens online, also in encrypted message boards, hidden from professionals and outsiders.

Aspects repeated risk assessments

These influences or triggers can increase the risk of violent extremist or terrorist action. On the other hand, an individual may also become disillusioned and renounce violent extremist or terrorist violence. It is essential that the risk pathway of such individuals be tracked through time to determine increasing or decreasing risk patterns.

But, violent extremists and terrorists often deny and camouflage their motives, intentions and acts, withhold information, and despise the state and professionals.

Therefore, multidisciplinary cooperation is needed in violent extremism risk assessment and risk management. The challenge is to clarify who has what knowledge and what responsibility for the risk assessment and risk management of the person involved, and of course, how the VERA-2R is used. Therefore, professionals should pay close attention to distributing tasks, and responsibility, and to risk communication and a common risk language.

A team assessment can be used for the interpretation of more subtle and equivocal information. This provides consensus on the interpretation of the available data, the judgement of individual risk levels and the general risk assessment. A team assessment can be carried out by arranging for two or more independent assessors to consult with each other after they have completed the protocol independently of each other, or alternatively by means of a joint team assessment.

Time-sensitive assessments

Ratings of the VERA-2R indicators are based on the current status of the individual and possible dynamical changes. Historical indicators must be interpreted in terms of the impact that past experiences and training have had on the individual’s current ability and motivation. If, for instance, someone has undergone explosives training in the past, then this experience may have a direct relationship to his ‘capacities’ and current knowledge.

Beliefs, attitudes, intentions, social contacts and motivations may change in the course of time. Although ratings for indicators are often undertaken based on the current time, information related to the indicator that occurred in the past can be documented in the qualitative descriptive section of the indicator to provide more nuanced background information relating to the indicator. This will provide additional context for the current status, which should also be described in detail in the qualitative section with the evidence-base in the final report.