Tom Vander Beken

     Tom Vander Beken


What is your main driver for doing research?

Curiosity is a driver for what I do. I feel privileged that I can look for answers to questions that matter in my field and in society. I am a strong believer in all sorts of collaboration and interdisciplinary work. It helps me to learn from others and see the broader picture of challenges in society and social change.

Why do you believe that strengthening mental health is so important?

Mental health is an important basis for many dimensions in life. In my criminological and legal work on vulnerable groups within the criminal justice system, I pay special attention to persons with mental health problems. All too often, their needs, rights and strengths remain under the surface.

How could research change the world?

Research is an essential part of civilization. It helps, criticizes, falsifies and stimulates thoughts and has the potential to challenge existing practices and policies. In that way, doing research is not a neutral activity. It is always about change and action.

With whom outside academia did you already collaborate and achieved important results?

As criminologist and lawyer I always have collaborated with practitioners and policy makers. Law enforcement, civil society and policy makers take part in my research or are advising from a stakeholder and user perspective. I feel lucky that many aspects of my work have been taken up outside academia:  (International) police organisations using methodological models and approaches I have developed, parliament amending bills in accordance with my recommendations, judges referring to my work in their verdicts, ...



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