Assessing the predictive validity of a risk assessment instrument for repeat victimization in the Netherlands using prior police contacts

Published date01 November 2023
AuthorNiels Raaijmakers,Roos Geurts,Marc J. M. H. Delsing,Alice K. Bosma,Jacqueline A. M. Wientjes,Toine Spapens,Ron H. J. Scholte
Date01 November 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Assessing the predictive validity
of a risk assessment instrument
for repeat victimization in the
Netherlands using prior police
Niels Raaijmakers
Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Roos Geurts
Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Marc J. M. H. Delsing
Praktikon, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Alice K. Bosma
Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Jacqueline A. M. Wientjes
Dutch National Police, The Netherlands
Toine Spapens
Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Ron H. J. Scholte
Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Corresponding author:
Niels Raaijmakers, Department of Criminal Law, Tilburg University, Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB Tilburg,
The Netherlands.
European Journal of Criminology
2023, Vol. 20(6) 18991917
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/14773708221105790
The current study examined to what extent a valid instrument that predicts repeat victimization
can be based on a victims prior police contacts. Police records between 2010 and 2017 were
retrieved for a sample of 68,229 victims. The data was split into a training set (n=34,224) and
a test set (n=34,005). Using logistic regression analyses in the training set, three models were
developed linking prior police contacts to repeat victimization. The predictive validity was assessed
in the test set. Results indicated that (a) prior police contacts as victims, suspects and witnesses
were associated with an elevated risk of repeat victimization and (b) the model correctly classied
a majority of both repeat victims and non-repeat victims across various cut-off points. Findings
demonstrated moderate to acceptable predictive validity, thereby suggesting that there is consid-
erable room for improvement.
Police, predictive validity, repeat victimization, risk assessment
Experiencing criminal victimization can severely impact an individuals life. Crime
victims are more likely than non-victims to report physical and mental health issues,
drug use and violent offending (Bouffard and Koeppel, 2014; Turanovic, 2019).
Experiencing multiple incidents of victimization, that is repeat victimization, increases
the likelihood of these adverse outcomes even more (Obsuth et al., 2018; Turner et al.,
2006). Institutions, therefore, aim to support victims and protect them from further
harm, for instance with intervention programs aimed to reduce the risk of repeat victim-
ization (Grove et al., 2012; Shorrock et al., 2020). To nd out which victims these inter-
ventions should be targeted at, institutions across Europe have introduced instruments to
assess the risk of repeat victimization (Pavlou et al., 2019). Most of these instruments are
used by police ofcers (e.g. Svalin et al., 2018; Turner et al., 2019), as they are often the
rst persons victims encounter after a victimization incident. Inspired by the growing
attention on repeat victimization, the aim of the present study was to investigate to
what extent a valid risk assessment instrument could solely be based on ofcial police
records and thereby enable Dutch police ofcers to identify victims at risk of repeat
In 2012, the European Parliament and Council of Europe accepted the Victims
Directive to set minimum standards and to strengthen the position of victims within
the criminal justice system of European Union (EU) member states (European
Parliament, 2012). The VictimsDirective gives particular attention to vulnerable
victims including, as described in Article 22, a timely individual assessment in order
to determine, amongst other things, a victims vulnerability to repeat victimization and
their specic protection needs. Police ofcers in EU member states play an important
role in safeguarding the standards set in the Directive since they are regularly confron ted
with victims. Following the implementation of the VictimsDirective in 2017, national
legislation obliges the Dutch police to assess a victims vulnerability, specically of
1900 European Journal of Criminology 20(6)

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