There are important conditional aspects for the proper use of the VERA-2R by professionals.
Evidence-based professionalism in violent extremism risk assessment is necessary.
Violent extremists and terrorists often deny and camouflage their motives, intentions and acts, withhold information, and mostly hate the state and their professionals.
This, in addition to the important security issues and the political and juridical pressure involved, underlines the necessity of evidence-based professionalism in violent extremism risk assessment. The VERA-2R offers this evidence-based professionalism. The indicators are based on actual empirical and expert knowledge in radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism. The VERA-2R structural method avoids the pitfalls of judgments made on the basis of intuition and experience.
Professional experts keep track of their theoretical and practical knowledge.
They have followed an accredited VERA-2R training. They keep track of their knowledge about the use of the VERA-2R and about structural professional judgment principles. They follow the literature about violent extremism and terrorism and associated risk characteristics.
Users must understand the role of the behavioural indicators for violent extremism included in the VERA-2R instrument, be aware of the impact of digital and other communication systems and have sufficient knowledge about ideologies that justify the use of violence.
Professional experts must hold an organizational mandate for violent extremism risk assessment.
The persons suspected of violent extremism may be red-flagged, radicalized, accused, indicted, detained and/or convicted or otherwise fall under terrorism legislation.
In violent extremism risk assessment, collateral information is needed. Collateral information from different sources is necessary because violent extremists and terrorists often withhold information and deny and camouflage their actions.
The information used for the VERA-2R must be weighed on the credibility of the source, and on the correctness, the importance and the appropriateness of the information for rating the risk indicators.
If a professional does not use collateral information, only interviewing the subject, this often leads to a professional 'error'.
Clinicians and therapists may have a bias in their violent extremism risk analysis and judgment with lower scores. Consensus with another trained professional leads to a more objective risk analysis (de Vogel & de Ruiter, 2004).
Structured Professional Judgment
The VERA-2R is based on the best practice of Structural Professional Judgment (SPJ) with 6 steps:
- Systematic and structured weighing of risk indicators,
- Judging of risk and protective indicators, and reaching consensus,
- Formulation of risk with the relevant risk indicators,
- Formulation of risk scenarios,
- Formulation of risk management strategies, and
- Final judgment of the risk of violence with advice about future risk assessments and the need for monitoring or supervision of risk change.