Vanessa Laureys earned the degree of ‘Bachelor of Occupational Therapy’ at University College Artevelde Ghent in 2002, but quickly took a career change in 2004, when she started working as a police officer in the intervention service of the Local Police Mechelen (2005), Lokeren (2006) and Sint-Niklaas (2009). The many extraordinary situations she encountered, inspired her to start studying criminology at Ghent University in 2007 while continuing to work as a police officer. She successfully completed her academic master in 2013. Her dissertation titled ‘The police as a victim of physical violence’ was awarded by the Center of Police Studies (CPS) as best Dutch thesis in 2014; giving a new and critical view on a topic within the field of policing and society. In her qualitative study she investigated the consequences of the confrontation with physical violence and the coping strategies being used by police officers in local police departments of several Flemish cities.
Financed by Ghent University Vanessa will be pursuing a PhD in Public Administration and Management starting on the 1st of January 2016 where she will be Joining the research group ‘Governing and Policing Security’ (GaPS) at the Faculty of Economics. In her PhD she will make a comparative, qualitative analysis about the influence of individual, interpersonal and organizational factors on professional resilience related to violence in the public and private security sector.