Universiteit Leiden

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Lenneke Alink

Professor of Forensic Family Studies

Prof.dr. L.R.A. Alink
+31 71 527 3432

Academic Career

  • Scientific director of the Institute of Education and Child Studies, Leiden University (2018 - present)
  • Full professor of Forensic Family Studies, Forensic Family and Youth Care Studies, Leiden University (2014 – present)
  • Professor of Prevention and Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect - Jan Brouwer chair, VU University Amsterdam (2012-present)
  • Associate Professor (UHD), Forensic Family and Youth Care Studies, Leiden University (2012-2014)
  • Assistant professor (UD), Forensic Family and Youth Care Studies, Leiden University (2006-2012)
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota (2006-2008)
  • PhD. Social Sciences, Leiden University. Doctoral thesis: Early childhood aggression. Supervisors: Prof. dr. F. Juffer, Prof. dr. J.M. Koot, Prof. dr. M.H. van IJzendoorn (2006)
  • MA. Developmental Psychology, Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Leiden University (2002)
  • Educational assistant at Leiden University, Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology (2000-2003)

Academic awards

  • Member of  De Jonge Akademie (The Young Academy) of the  Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen; KNAW(Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) (starting 2015)
  • VIDI laureate. Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (2014)
  • Member of the  Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities) (since 2012)
  • Award for 'Excellent teacher 2009-2010’ of the Department of Education and Child Studies, Leiden
  • Rubicon laureate. Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (2006)

Teaching activities

  • Child abuse and neglect across the life span: A multidisciplinary approach (2009-present)
  • Child abuse and neglect: Neurobiological consequences and interventions (2009-present)
  • Forensic family studies and psychology of perpetrators and witnesses (2012-2014)
  • Introduction to developmental psychology (2004-2011, except 2006, 2007)
  • Neurobiological backgrounds of parenting and education (2005-2010, except 2007)
  • Research practice (2010)
  • Family studies (2006)
  • Student research participation
  • Bachelor theses
  • Master theses
  • PhD theses
  • Initiator of the minor “Child abuse and neglect: A life course perspective” (start: 2012)
  • Development of Master’s program “Forensic Child and Family Studies” (start: 2014) 

Main research activities

In the research cluster Child maltreatment we investigate the prevalence, predictors, and consequences of child maltreatment, using a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on neurobiological factors as well as socio-economic and family processes. We have performed two National Prevalence studies of Maltreatment of youth (NPM-2005 and 2010). The most recent NPM showed that in the Netherlands about 119.000 children have been victims of maltreatment in 2010. 

We also study differences between maltreating and nonmaltreating parents to explore risk factors for and processes that lead to maltreatment. In one of our research projects we specifically focus on stress regulation as a process underlying child maltreatment. In addition, we investigate the short- and long-term consequences of child maltreatment on brain development and behavior and study the mechanisms of these effects. One of the most striking consequences is the increased risk for maltreating their own children. Therefore, a central focus of this research cluster is to unravel the process of intergenerational transmission of abuse. We do this in a multigenerational family study in which we focus on individuals who do and ones who do not break the cycle of abuse and neglect. The knowledge that we gain with the different studies in this research cluster is used to design and test the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the risk of child maltreatment.

Current research projects:

  • Changing chaos: the causal role of household chaos in child maltreatment
  • Intergenerational transmission of maltreatment.
  • Effectiveness of an intervention- based diagnostic instrument for assessing parenting potential in child protection cases.
  • Effectiveness of a parenting intervention in foster families.
  • Prevalence, risk factors and consequences of child maltreatment in Vietnam.
  • Naughty or clumsy? Predictors and parenting outcomes of maternal hostile attributions of child behavior.
  • Young mothers in deprived circumstances in Egypt.
  • The long-term sequelae of child sexual abuse.
  • Neurobiological risk factors for child abuse and neglect.
  • The full scope of oxytocinergic influences on the parental brain: Maternal defensiveness and grandparent-child interactions
  • Roots of social cognition: Attachment security and social-cognitive information processing in infancy


See Dutch profile Lenneke Alink

Professor of Forensic Family Studies

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Pedagogische Wetenschappen
  • Forensische gezinsped. en Jeugdhulpverl.

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 4B45



  • Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport Commissie Onderzoeksprogramma Geweld hoort nergens thuis
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