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Janine Segersprijs in Criminology

This is an annually awarded prize in memory of Janine Segers, doctor in Law at the ULB, Master in criminology and judge at the juvenile court, who died in 1969 at the age of 44. The prize of 500 euros is awarded every year at the official proclamation to the best master dissertation submitted in the previous academic year that answers to the following criteria:

‘Vrij onderzoek’ (free research) or the capacity to conduct research in a ‘redelijk eigenzinnige’ way, following the university’s credo.

Original and innovative research or the use of problem formulations, theoretical frameworks and/or methods that are not mainstream in criminology.

Scientific quality or an outstanding work on a theoretical and methodological level Language use and writing style are of excellent level.

Quoted with at least 15/20 during the last academic year.

A call is sent out each year in September to all graduated students.


CALL 2021






"Exploration of blockchain as a disruptive information technology: your identity in a block. How can blockchain technology offer a solution against identity fraud?"


Jury Composition: Katrien De Koster (chair), Elisabeth Enhus, Yana Demeyere, and Estelle Hanard  


The ‘fourth industrial revolution’ is deploying the world for intelligent and autonomous systems powered by data and machine learning (OOSTVOGELS & STRUYF, 2021). As technology becomes more intertwined with cyber systems, data protection is of paramount importance. In the first place, it is crime - as first-adopters - who eagerly use this paradigm shift to steal your personal data and then commit criminal acts with it. In the current digital age in which consumers are increasingly embracing and using the internet in online transactions to buy goods or services, the concept of ‘digital identity’ is becoming more and more pressing. Although no uniform, comprehensive definition of this concept has been described in the literature, it is understood as: "all of an individual's personal data available online" (ANJANA & RAMAN, 2020, p. 10). The content of the digital identity is therefore very broad, ranging from a personal e-mail address to confidential bank details and product preferences. This identity is not uniform and can therefore vary between financial institutions, telecom operators and social media platforms. In order to halt this unbridled distribution of personal data - which can lead to identity fraud -, there currently is a lot of effort to explore blockchain technology as an innovative information technology. Given the intrinsic characteristics of cryptography, transparency and user control, blockchain technology fulfills all key factors for the development of a new robust digital identity system. To merge both two - so far - separate worlds in one study, I developed the following research question: "How can blockchain technology offer a solution against identity fraud?" This question is central in my research and I will try to answer it on the basis of an exploratory literature study. Given the little academic research that has been conducted into this question and the large amount of nescience, the aim of this master’s thesis is to contribute to scientific knowledge development and to show the reader where the hidden power of blockchain lies, beyond the Bitcoin hype.





Lien Maes

"Necessities, incivilities and remedies in public spaces: a study of public toilet facilities"


Jury Composition: Katrien De Koster (chair), Elisabeth Enhus, Yana Demeyere, Jenneke Christiaens and Estelle Hanard  


The literature review showed that public toilets are an important (and even indispensable) service to society. At the same time, however, the media regularly reports about an acute shortage of these public sanitary facilities. Initiativesorganisedby social activists point out as  well  theconsequences  of  the  shortage  for  the  most  disadvantaged  groups  of  our population.  Moreover,  the  shortage  of  public  toilets  attracted  the  attention  of  many researchers. One of the explanations for the shortage of public toilets is therefore central to this work. It concerns the presence of nuisance in these public facilities. The aim of this study is to explore the forms of nuisance that occur in the public toilets in the city centre ofBrussels.  Subsequently,  the  focus will  be  seton  how  the  reported  nuisance  can  be prevented.  The  questions  at  the baseof this  research  are the  following: What  is  the importance of public toilets in public space? What types of incivilities occur in public toilets in Brussels? What potential solutions are there to the reported incivilities?The results found were obtained byvarious qualitative data collection methods, specifically observations and semi-structured interviews. The latterwere conducted with professionals working atthe institutions responsible of, or linked to the public toiletsstudied.Moreover, additional data was  provided  by more  brief  interviews,  conducted  with  other  respondents  ( keeperswhose  businessesoverlook  one  of  the  public  toilets).Firstly,  according  to  the respondents,  public  toilets  contribute  to  a  cleaner  city.  They  were  presented  as  animportant weapon in the fight against public urination. Public toilets can make public spaces more accessible to many, and increase the mobility of city visitors in this way. Secondly, it was found that physicalas well as social incivilities occurin thepublic toilets in Brussels. Due tothe presence of incivilities in public toilets, bona fide users will avoid visiting such facilities.Thirdly, several solutions were proposed to deal with the nuisance in the toilets.However,  the  results show  that  the  third  and  final  question  cannot  be  answered  with  aready-made solution,but that an integrated approach to this phenomenon is required.


Sofie Van den Bussche

"Beroepsgeheim vs schuldig verzuim: vertrouwen komt te voet, maar gaat te paard"


Jury Composition: Katrien De Koster (chair), Elisabeth Enhus, Yana Demeyere, Jenneke Christiaens and Estelle Hanard  


Professional  secrecy  and  guilty  neglect  are  ubiquitous  in  the  media,  due  to  a  number of recent convictions for guilty neglect committed by professional secrecy holders.  Societal  events  have  increased  judicial  authorities’  demand  for  more  information sharing between relevant stakeholders.Both  judicial  authorities  and  care,  develop  common  initiatives  on  professional  secrecy and guilty neglect in view of achieving a good relationship and transparent cooperation.  Different  perspectives  and  expectations  of  both  sides  however  jeopardize the efforts made.In the study "Professional secrecy versus guilty neglect. Trust arrives walking and departs riding”; the stakeholders arguments and discourse are examined.The first part of the research includes a literature study, including the history and conditions of both guilty neglect and professional secrecy.In the second part, discourse analysis examines how stakeholders in the field of care, justice and politics establish their discourse and are then compared in search of differences and similarities.Social  context  makes  mutual  understanding  possible  and  gives  meaning  to  communication; the results of the research are also assessed in this light.

The  tension  between  professional  secrecy  and  guilty  neglect  occurs  within  a  broader society that is characterized by a number of events and phenomena. It therefore  transcends  the  perceived  contradiction  between  aid  and  justice  and  impacts society at large.The  discourse  analysis  showed  that  stakeholders  emphasize  their  own  position  and  therefore  have  a  fragmented  view  of  the  complex  relationship  between  professional secrecy and guilty neglect. The research has shown that the field of tension between professional secrecy and guilty neglect can be attributed to a construct of society.Professional secrecy and guilty neglect are not enemy concepts, but can coexist without conflict and without dwelling into each other's waters.Finally, the researcher formulates a daring objection. Can political actors be held accountable  for  the  constructed  tension  between  justice  and  care?  Potential  security risks are being resolved by politicians through the adoption of additional laws,  pressured  by  the  electorate, further  fostering  the  utopia  of  absolute  security. Providing help entails risks. Care  workers have to balance information and make educated decisions based on the acquired information. Care workers cannot give watertight guarantees as to the results of their interventions. With regard to their clients  and  society,  care  workers  perform  on  a  best  efforts  basis  and  not  an  obligation of  result.




jsp3Hannelore Mason

Doe “Rap” je verhaal: een kwalitatief onderzoek naar de beeldvorming van jongeren omtrent hun jeugdrechter en hoe deze zich verhoudt ten opzichte van de opzet van het jeugdrecht en de intenties van de jeugdrechter’

Jury composition: Katrien De Koster (chair), Jenneke ChristiaensEls EnhusMarijke Van Buggenhout


Based on the assumption that the juvenile court sets out to act in the interests of the youngsters, it was a challenge to discover if the youngsters also experience it that way. On the basis of the research question, we looked for the differences between the intentions of the juvenile judge and the perception that the juveniles have of him/her. We investigated how and where these differences come about, and which aspects or actions can align this vision more positively. In addition to the literature study, we opted for a creative ‘rapworkshop’, in order to find a method that is close to the youngsters’ interests. By contacting institutions, five responded positively. This resulted in five different workshops, where the youngsters wrote a rap together with a musician, about their image of the juvenile judge. In total twenty-six respondents eventually participated in the project. Both from the literature study and from this empirical part, we found that the juvenile judge has a dual role. On the one hand, there was the protective role of the juvenile judge, which particularly applied to the group of respondents who appeared before him due to a problematic upbringing. On the other hand, there was the juvenile judge's punitive role, which was more evident with the group of respondents who appeared before the court for some transgression or other. The difference between the intentions of the juvenile judge and the image of the youngsters is mainly reflected in his/her role and the context in which these two groups must appear before him/her. It was remarkable that all respondents wished for a relationship of trust, with someone closer to their environment.



jsp1Jasmien Bougrine

Ik ben mijn verhaal: gender en zelf-narratieven bij meisjes binnen Basketclub Foyer Molenbeek

Jury composition: Katrien De Koster (chair), Tom Bauwens, , Iris SteenhoutEsther Jehaes, Annelies De Schrijver


Young people from Brussels are often seen as a homogeneous group and associated with a negative connotation. Nowadays people try to mobilize these young people through social sports projects. These ‘sports for development’ programs focus on individual and social development within a multicultural society. Now it appears that the scientific results of these programs are not unequivocally positive and especially aimed at men. BC Foyer Molenbeek is such a project with this special feature that it focuses exclusively on girls. It concerns a group that is both socially and scientifically invisible. The following research question has been decided upon to discover what these urban girls consider important and at the same time to empower them: 'Which elements are represented in the self-narratives of the girls of BC Foyer Molenbeek?' With as sub questions: 'Which place takes the project from BC Foyer Molenbeek?’ and ‘What role do the girls of the project give to gender within their self-narratives?’ The first part of the literature study deals with the current situation of young people in Brussels and the sports programs. Later on, it zooms in on this urban youth. These young people are seen as vulnerable, but at the same time they are expected to assume responsibility for structurally embedded problems. There is also a plea for a wider vision in which understanding and voicing this youth takes a central position. This points out the importance of self-narratives. We all create our own social reality in interaction with social processes and the Other. To understand what urban youth is concerned with, we need to understand which processes play a role in the construction of their identity. The third part deals with gender. This describes the importance of recognizing gender as a social construction that generates expectations. The methodological part describes the data collection methods: observing participation, photohistorias and focus groups. Photos that the respondents collected themselves formed the guideline for these focus groups. This created a large degree of freedom. The results are then described and analysed. This chapter notices the importance of an identity that is co-constructed and the important role of the Other. Some of these identity traits may even lead to exclusion and discrimination. The need for more visibility of urban girls and processes at the micro level is prominent here. We decide with a conclusion, a discussion and a number of recommendations. 



Julia Gutsgell

'A loving provision ? How former Jehovah’s witnesses experience shunning practices’

Jury composition: Katrien De Koster (chair), Iris Steenhout, Tom Bauwens, Mark Leys, Esther De Graaf


The impact of ostracism (being excluded or ignored) on its targets has been extensively explored in the last decades. Ostracism has been found to have adverse effects on targeted individuals physical and mental health. Most research in this field, however, has focused on the immediate and short-term impact on ostracised individuals and has been conducted under laboratory conditions. Utilising a qualitative approach, the current study explored the long-term impact of chronic ostracism in former members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who were excommunicated from their community following a variety of doctrinal transgressions. Moreover, the study explored how ostracised individuals make sense and explain ostracism to themselves. The study comprised twelve qualitative interviews with six participants. The results of this study support findings from previous studies, in regards to the short-term effects of ostracism. Ostracism affects four fundamental human needs; the need for belonging, self-esteem, control and meaningful existence. The study offers preliminary evidence that these basic human needs are not only thwarted as a short-term consequence but continue to affect its targets beyond the immediate ostracism episode. Long-term effects of chronic ostracism, as experienced and described by participants in this study, include adverse effects on the perception of participants identity, the development of destructive and harmful coping mechanisms, feelings of disconnection from others, fears regarding ones’ personal integrity, as well as anxiety and uncertainty about the future. Further research in this area is needed to provide conclusive evidence for these long-term effects. Based on the findings of this study, a number of recommendations have been identified: The need for raising awareness of ostracism as a controlling and coercive behavioural tool amongst professionals who come in contact with children raised in environments that promote the use of this unethical behaviour, the provision of specialist support services for people who experience ostracism, plans and actions from policy makers and legislators to prevent and prosecute the unethical use of ostracism as a control tool.