School and workplace violence incidents are rare but realistic concerns. Developing a threat assessment plan can make it easier to identify potential threats and act accordingly if problems arise.
Understand Behavioral Profiling
You should work with psychologists and law enforcement to understand the use of profiling individuals who are most likely to act in a violent manner. Behavioral profiling may consist of using previous cases of school or workplace violence to identify behavioral patterns that might be cause for alarm. For example, a person with a history of anger management issues may be more likely to act out in a violent manner if slighted. Often times, this information is not easily noticed by people unless they are close to the person or have worked with them for several years.
Other behaviors that can be concerning may come out in casual conversation, such as strong obsession with weapons or offensive jokes that can be interpreted as violent. Behavioral profiling should also include behaviors that can be self-inflicted and raise red flags that someone is potentially suicidal.
Educate Those Around You
You need to have resources available where people can submit concerns in an anonymous manner. For example, you may want to include a comment area on your website or a helpline. People are more likely to inform a school or workplace about unusual or threatening behavior if they feel like they will not face repercussions for "snitching" or the person they name cannot retaliate.
Many cases of school and workplace violence were not a complete surprise. Friends and family may have felt uncomfortable around the perpetrator, and even if they contacted someone, their concerns may not have been taken seriously. In the age of the Internet, having additional eyes that can report concerns posted on anonymous forums or on social media accounts can bring awareness to problems.
Have A Follow-Up Protocol
It can be difficult to establish a way to address the information you receive about a specific person. There is always the risk of false information or someone being ostracized because they are different or disliked by their peers. Addressing any concerns in a private and dignified manner can reduce embarrassment if they are unfairly targeted or reduce the chances of escalating a situation if there is true cause for concern.
Unless there is a direct threat made against a school or workplace, it is best to privately ask the person to speak with a mental health professional at a clinic like San Francisco Psychiatric. This can occur under the guise of a widespread initiative to reduce depression or create a better workplace environment. A mental health professional can make note of any problems in the person's life or how they behave during the counseling session. Based on their expertise, they can determine whether they feel like the person is a threat to his or herself or those around them.
Creating a threat assessment plan is invaluable to every school or workplace environment. Properly identifying problems before they arise can reduce the likelihood of widespread violence.
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