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Elanie Rodermond receives Veni funding from NWO

14 April 2022
Criminologist Elanie Rodermond of VU University Amsterdam has received a Veni grant of 280.000 euros from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Rodermond receives the Veni for her research: Jihad brides and Nazi lovers? Female-specific pathways to terrorism and (violent) extremism.

Lack of scientific attention
Worldwide, the number of female terrorists and extremists is growing, whilst they seem to play an important role in the intergenerational transmission of extremist ideology. Until now, they have often been dismissed as "naive brides," "partners-of" or "victims''.  As a result, scientific attention to women's route to terrorism and extremism - and the way back - is limited. Based on the lack of scientific research, Rodermond decided to combine her knowledge. ''My VENI research stems from my research interest in two specific perpetrator groups: female perpetrators and perpetrators of extremist crimes. During my PhD research, I looked at the lifecycle of female ex-prisoners, and examined recidivism and reintegration. During my PhD research I also started a research about the lifecycle of terrorist suspects in the Netherlands. I have been working on this theme ever since''.

In her Veni research, Rodermond combines various research methods to uncover women-specific paths to terrorism and extremism. ''For example, I am going to use a remarkable quantitative dataset, with which I will compare female perpetrators of terrorism with regular female perpetrators, and women from the general population on numerous characteristics. In addition, I am going to conduct qualitative research based on file analysis and interviews. Together, the results will reveal factors that, in the case of women, play a role in the run-up to extremist and terrorist crimes, as well as shed light on underlying mechanisms.'' Rodermond also aims to use her research to show which factors facilitate the quitting process.

Social impact
Women play an important role in the intergenerational transmission of extremist ideology. According to Rodermond, this is the main reason we should prevent women from engaging in extremism and terrorism. ''Most people think that someone suddenly becomes a terrorist, but my earlier research showed that this is often preceded by a rather turbulent period, with problems that we also see in 'regular' offender populations. Think of family problems, previously committed crimes, etc. By identifying such risk factors, you can focus more specifically on prevention. 

Rodermond hopes her research will contribute to a better support system for women who have already been convicted of terrorist crimes. They are currently staying at the Terrorist Department in Zwolle. Recently a number of women were brought back from Syria. It is important that these women, once released, do not fall back into the old behavior. My research will therefore also address the question of how these women can undergo the best possible resocialization process.''