Dr. de Ruiter has conducted numerous workshops in The Netherlands and abroad on forensic (risk) assessment and treatment planning. She often serves as an expert witness in criminal court cases on psycholegal issues including the relationship between mental disorder and offending behavior, criminal responsibility, risk of future violence, and required level of supervision and treatment.
Michelle is also a Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist with the British Psychological Society. Outside of academia, she works in forensic practice as a Registered Intermediary with the Ministry of Justice and National Crime Agency. This role involves facilitating communication with vulnerable victims and witnesses during live police investigations and during criminal trial proceedings. Michelle has worked on a range of cases concerning offences such as harassment, robbery, child sexual exploitation, physical abuse and neglect, sexual assault, rape, and murder. She specialises in working with typically developing children, and also children and adults who have complex communication needs such as autism and learning disability.
In the past, she worked for several years in a multidisciplinary team, giving expert assistance and testimony and consulting the police and the judicial system in investigations of child sexual and physical abuse. At present Taina works as a Chief Specialist at the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare aiming to develop child-friendly, evidence-based justice procedures as well as interventions and services for children who have experienced violence (Barnahus-project).
While combining the different perspectives and professional roles is not always easy, Dr Laajasalo believes that careers integrating research and practice can be personally rewarding, and are also important in formulating central research questions and addressing the needs of the field.