Misunderstood behaviour

People with misunderstood behaviour is the generic term for people facing an accumulation of life problems who are unable to find the support they need. The police records any meetings with these individuals under incident code E33: nuisance caused by a person manifesting confused behaviour. Our aim is to enable professionals to join forces, to provide the support these people need.

People with misunderstood behaviour: who are they?

They regularly feature on the news: a person manifesting ‘confused behaviour’ or even a ‘confused person’. This name is the result of the fact that in their reporting system, the police use the incident code ‘E33: nuisance caused by a person manifesting confused behaviour’. But are these people truly ‘confused’? The experiences of the people in question and their loved ones reveal that the name ‘people with misunderstood behaviour’ is perceived as more respectful and more appropriate.

Numbers of E-33 reports continue to rise. Can the same be said for the number of people with misunderstood behaviour?

ZonMw facilitates (action-based) research into the group of people designated by this term: people who demonstrate misunderstood behaviour. This group is large and diverse. It may relate to people with psychiatric disorders, but also individuals with as yet undiagnosed dementia or individuals experiencing chronic stress. The problems they experience can mount up, bringing them into contact with professionals from multiple domains.

Many studies reveal that:

  •  The number of reports is not equal to the number of people manifesting confused behaviour. One individual often is the cause of multiple reports.
  • It is difficult to exchange data between the various authorities, also as a result of privacy regulations. This can cause the studies to become bogged down.
  • The variety of people in question is wide.

Nonetheless, it is not impossible to conduct meaningful research. View the research reports here that emerged from the Action Programme on Confused Behaviour.

Helping professionals with action programmes

Since 2021, the Action Programme Grip op Onbegrip (Understanding Misunderstanding) has been focused on facilitating and encouraging cooperation between police, local authorities and organisations that offer care to people with misunderstood behaviour in their environment.

Encouraging cross-domain cooperation

Professionals work hard to support people with misunderstood behaviour, and their loved ones, as well as possible. Often there is insufficient time, manpower or financial resources to form meaningful cooperation with people from other organisations or other domains. As a consequence, people often fail to receive the appropriate care and support. This brings them into contact with the judicial authorities, which could otherwise have been avoided.

Action Programme Grip op Onbegrip: continuation of the Action Programme Confused Behaviour

The Action Programme Confused Behaviour in which small-scale and local projects were carried out, ran until 2021. The Action Programme Grip op Onbegrip is a follow-up to the original programme. In 2023, the Ministries of Health, Welfare and Sport and Justice and Security announced

their intention to join forces and to use this programme to boost cooperation between police, local authorities and organisations that offer support and care to this group of people.

The focus of the current action programme is combining regional knowledge and sharing best practices. The programme has identified a number of focus areas. Below more information about each of those focus areas

Focus areas in the Action Programme Grip op Onbegrip

Knowledge workshops on Misunderstood Behaviour 

This area of interest is focused on establishing an appropriate range of support services for the broad(er) target group of people with misunderstood behaviour in vulnerable situations, as a way of preventing them unnecessarily coming into contact with the police and judicial authorities.

Read more about the knowledge workshops Misunderstood Behaviour

Early identification and follow up in the neighbourhood

This focus area concentrates on the early identification of individuals with problems in multiple life areas. If they are identified on time, the situation can be prevented from escalating. A neighbourhood mental health professional can play an important role by acting as the link between care and safety professionals.

> Read more about early identification and follow-up in the neighbourhood

Cross-domain cooperation in hotspots and safety regions

People with misunderstood behaviour who are dealing with complex problems often also come into contact with police and the judicial authorities. This focus area aims to reinforce cooperation around this group of people.

> Read more about cross-domain cooperation in hotspots and safety regions

National supervision for cooperation in respect of misunderstood behaviour
  • A national supervision and evaluation study will be launched from within the programme. This project supports collaborative ventures by working on a nationwide reflective learning system
  • Regional advisors Care & Safety ready to support the regions in achieving better cooperation and budget applications.

> Read more about the national supervision for cooperation in respect of misunderstood behaviour





If you have any questions, you are able to find our contact information below.


Lisanne Hogema

Senior program manager
gripoponbegrip [at] zonmw.nl

Alice Lamain

Program manager - absent until October 2024
gripoponbegrip [at] zonmw.nl

Eline Evelo

Program manager - afwezig tot november 2024
gripoponbegrip [at] zonmw.nl

Tamara Adonis

Program manager
gripoponbegrip [at] zonmw.nl