Recent projects

The coming years

Dijkstra has taken up the following subjects for a long term:

  • Evaluation research on Safe Home (Veilig Thuis) Flevoland and the interagency work
  • complex divorce: listening to parents, children and professionals, a challenge for differentation and de-escalation: International partners wanted as explained at the Eurocrim Conference in September 2014.
  • developing and monitoring worklearnplaces (werkleerplaatsen) with professionals and clients in shelter work, youth care in local, nationwide and international context as sustainable communities of practice
  • preventing sexual abuse and promoting healthy sexual behaviour for youngsters and children in families and in (residential, foster) care
  •  the complex links between domestic violence, partner abuse, child abuse, parents abuse and addication, especially  by alcohol. The implications of the connection for relationships, awareness of professionals and consumption of repeated (emergency) care.
  • investigating  the transfer of experiential knowledgde, tacit knowing in the professional domain and the crucial role of the (mind)body
  • feelings of belonging and becoming strangers in the private, professional and public space


Art and nature for inspiration and reflection

The beauty of art, sensory perception and inspiration, and the encouragement to personally investigate it are of vital importance to me and my work.  In walking and being outside and enjoying arts I take a deep breath, and find new horizons. In my work I use metaphors, images, film fragments, paintings, mind-maps, objects, meditations and exercises of movement.

The spirals of the artist Richard Serra in the Guggenheimmuseum in Bilbao in 2010 impressed me greatly. His project Matter of Time  inspired me to reflect upon the Intervention Guide Return, in which the violence needs to stop but the partners want to continue the relationship. In my article Guided return and the meaning of time (Systemic Bulletin, 2011) I included the spirals and my experience of walking them while identifying with the different perspectives of the partners and professionals involved. On different levels time plays a significant rol in the preparation, timing, intensity, and duration of the intervention. Furthermore, it can support clients and professionals in tolerating uncertainty, strengthening safety, founding a base for relationship, cooperation and completion. The spiral teaches us double-fold on necessaties: we pay attention to the experience of the travel through the changing spiral, combining it with an overhead view  when looking from above,   straight into the spirals.


Children exposed to domestic violence at home

Every year, thousands of children are exposed tot domestic violence. They hear the blows, smell the fear, see the consequences, and play with it. It is harmful for children to witness violence.


In the 1990 problems of Dutch children who witnessed violence remained invisible and hidden. Since 2001, Dijkstra has carried out several projects on these issues and this target group.
In that year, Dijkstra did a policy study for the Dutch Ministry of Justice for children (m/f) witnessing violence at home; offering a basic literature- based exploration of the short and long term effects. This study can be downloaded from

The project can also be set up in others regions. It offers many practical tips and points of interest. In addition, advice is possible at a strategic level in order to guarantee attention for these children and to come to a more structural funding from the part of the community councils.

Action is needed

It does not help to wait until children have become adults. In order to break the cycle of violence, it is important to offer help as early as possible, depending on what is needed for the specific child and her or his family.

Children who have received support, often feel stronger and have more self-confidence. They know better what to do when violence erupts and they have more knowledge of abuse. They are also capable of expressing their feelings about the abuse and their parents better.