A Holistic, Restorative and Gendered approach to Guide Returnees to their Home country



Project funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO).

2020-12-15 --- 2025-03-15

Project # B2/202/P3/REGUIDE

This project is coordinated by the VUB.

The official website of the whole project is :


REGUIDE - A Holistic, Restorative and Gendered approach to Guide Returnees to their Home country -develops an integrative and gendered approach for the reintegration of Belgian returnees in society. The project develops an interdisciplinary, holistic, multi-agency and multi-level approach to the reintegration of returnees, with a particular focus on gender.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian War in 2011, more than 5000 European citizens have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join various jihadi extremist groups. By 2017, one third of them have returned. Belgium had the highest ratio of “foreign terrorist fighters” (FTF) per capita (since 2012, 550- 600 individual were present in Syria and Iraq) and with a 30% return rate, Belgium has also the highest ratio of returnees per capita. The societal consequences of the phenomenon of current foreign fighters and returnees are unparalleled since previous Belgian and European links with jihadi organizations were on a significantly lower scale and easier to govern. These consequences include among others issues of security, justice, integration, and democracy. EU member states (MS) use divergent criminal justice, penitentiary, security and societal approaches vis-à-vis returnees. Existing research suggests that policies which overemphasize the use of hard measures fail to offer solutions that lead to a successful reintegration of returnees and their families and therefore to a sustainable security.

To that effect, the REGUIDE project aims to reguide both returnees and the society as a whole to create a sustainable and peaceful context. To reach this long-term vision, by using a variety of methodologies such as ethnography, discourse/legal/content analysis, arts-based and action research and interdisciplinary research based on law, criminology, anthropology, social psychology, political sciences and gender studies, REGUIDE discerns five objectives:

1. Create a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder Living Lab of expertise on returnee reintegration (RELAB),

2. Develop holistic knowledge on returnee reintegration in Belgium,

3. Develop a sustained restorative approach to returnee reintegration based on restorative, educational, and participatory interventions,

4. Develop a set of tools and recommendations for LEAs and other practitioners and policy makers, and

5. Share the project results and activities at the local, regional, national and European level.


Centre of Expertise on Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality (RHEA) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Faculty of Social Sciences & Solvay Business School of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Interculturalism, migration and minorities research centre (IMMRC) - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven)

Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC) - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven)

The Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Constitutional and Administrative Law | Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches en Droit Constitutionnel et Administratif (CIRC) - Université Saint-louis-Bruxelles (USL-B)


Nothing yet.


Nothing yet.


1. REGUIDE project kickoff meeting

Type: Online and face-to-face meeting

Date: 19 October 2021

Organization: VUB


Isabelle Detry NICC-INCC
Coline Remacle NICC-INCC
Benjamin Mine NICC-INCC
Patrick Jeuniaux NICC-INCC