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Yannick van den Brink receives Veni grant for research on juvenile justice

10 August 2023
The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant to criminal law expert Yannick van den Brink to investigate inequality in juvenile justice.

Inequality in juvenile justice
There is growing scientific evidence of inequalities in decisions within the juvenile justice system. It has been found that young people from immigrant backgrounds, with disabilities, and/or from low socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to be identified as suspects, prosecuted, and detained. "Previous research, conducted by myself and others, has shown that inequalities manifest in decisions at various stages of the juvenile justice process. However, we still do not know enough about the processes and mechanisms underlying these disparities. The Veni grant allows me to conduct in-depth research on this over the next four years."

Social disadvantage
With his Veni project, Van den Brink aims to investigate how inequalities in juvenile justice emerge. He will specifically focus on the potential influence of social disadvantages in juveniles, such as poverty, problematic home situations, educational issues, social exclusion, and/or lack of access to services. "In my Veni project, I intend to gain insight into how social disadvantages can influence and potentially accumulate in decisions at different stages of the juvenile justice chain. Additionally, I want to uncover how disparities in juvenile justice decisions may be related to inequalities in adjacent systems, particularly child protection and education."

Fairer juvenile justice system
Van den Brink emphasizes the urgency of the issue by pointing out that inequalities in juvenile justice contribute to further deepening societal inequality in the Netherlands. "In particular, disparities in the use of detention - known to have harmful effects on young people - have a disproportionately large impact on the well-being and future prospects of young people who are already in a disadvantaged position in society." With his Veni project, he hopes to contribute to a fairer and more effective juvenile justice system. "Ultimately, my project aims to provide concrete insights for policy and practice on how to address the social disadvantages of young people in juvenile justice decision-making."

Talent program
The NWO Talent program gives researchers the freedom to conduct their own research based on creativity and passion. They receive a maximum of 280,000 euros. The program encourages innovation and curiosity. Independent research contributes to and prepares us for the society of tomorrow. That is why NWO is committed to a diversity of scientists, disciplines, and backgrounds. Veni is part of the Talent program, along with the Vidi and Vici grants.

NWO selects researchers based on the scientific quality and innovative nature of the research proposal, the scientific and/or societal impact of the proposed project, and the quality of the researcher.