The project


REGUIDE is an interdisciplinary research project that develops an integrative and gendered approach for the reintegration of Belgian returnees in society.

REGUIDE is a BRAIN (Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks) project funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and will be developed over the course of four years (2021-2025). The project itself is designed around nine work packages.

REGUIDE brings together researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), KU Leuven (KUL), Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles (USL-B), and Nationaal Instituut voor Criminalistiek en Criminologie (NICC/INCC), to develop an interdisciplinary, holistic, multi-agency and multi-level approach to the reintegration of returnees in Belgian society, with a particular focus on gender.

The societal consequences of the phenomenon of current foreign fighters and returnees are unparalleled, and 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, our 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.
  5. Share the project results and activities at the local, regional, national and European level.


The reintegration of returnees represents an important societal challenge for Belgium. The development of knowledge based and sustainable solutions for returnees and their families as well as for Belgian society is an essential condition to tackle this societal challenge.

REGUIDE is expected to have a real and lasting impact at three different levels:

  1. At the macro-level → support the Belgian policymakers and federal institutions with knowledge-based recommendations that will have a significant impact both on their preventive and criminal justice policies.

  2. At the meso-level –> support the Belgian prison and probation system, practitioners and civil servants responsible for addressing the needs of male and female returnees by developing knowledge-based tools, guidelines, and training.

  3. At the micro-level → empower male and female returnees and their families towards achieving a fulfilling personal, professional and civic life, by building personal capacity and developing restorative and educational support trajectories.