Threat Assessment for the Violent Student / Employee / Co-worker / Client

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Having a process to asses the “capability” of a person to act violent is critical. The process can not be arbitrary, the team untrained, or the “next steps” delayed.

Another critical step is having actually “Practiced” conducting a threat assessment. Holding a table top exercise for your team with a trained facilitator can be that opportunity to learn without risk.

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When I facilitate exercises, a plausible, realistic, and uncomfortable scenario is provided that forms the basis for the exercise. Over the course of an hour, the team can look at the clues, share their experiences and resources, and develop an actionable plan. Using an external facilitator is critical if the ideas are to flow and if you want real dialog, not just repeating what the Boss wants to hear.

A facilitator also allows for the “Uncomfortable” to be raised. Are you comfortable talking about Domestic violence or mental illness of people you know? These are real threats that need to be discussed honestly, responsibly, and productively.

Campus Safety Magazine has some good resources for developing a threat assessment plan:

1. Is the student a possible threat to the health, safety, and welfare of himself and/or others on campus?

2. Could the student benefit from psychological, physical, and emotional health services?

3. Does the student have a history of disciplinary problems?

4. Does the allegation/report include a physical or verbal altercation with another student or a member of the college faculty or staff?

5. Has the student taken responsibility for their conduct?

6. Has the student participated in or is currently seeking outside help/counseling?

7. Given the situation, is there adequate time for a thorough assessment/review by the team?

A link to the full article can be found here: http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/article/7_questions_threat_assessment_teams_should_ask

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