INTELLIGENCE Volume 1, Issue 6, June 2012: Threat Assessments and Preventing Spousal Violence
Volume 1, Issue 6, Spring 2012
Welcome to the sixth issue of Intelligence.
Intelligence will keep you up to date with the recent advances in threat assessment from around the globe. World-leading threat assessment figures have agreed to share their knowledge and experiences and serve on the Intelligence editorial board. We also encourage you to contribute and provide feedback.
Our Latest Research summary, Threat Assessment by Police Can Help Prevent Spousal Violence, can be found in this issue, along with other research news and views.
We hope Intelligence will continue to provide a forum for you to share and develop your expertise in threat assessment.
Stephen D. Hart, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
Director, ProActive ReSolutions Inc.
Threat Assessment by Police Can Help Prevent Spousal Violence
Belfrage, H., Strand, S., Storey, J. E., Gibas, A. L., Kropp, P. R., & Hart S. D. (2012). Assessment and management of risk for intimate partner violence by police officers using the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide. Law and Human Behavior, 36, 60-67. [DOI: 10.1007/s10979-011-9278-0]
Very little research has addressed the usefulness of risk assessment for preventing or reducing violence. Further, very little is known about the utility of risk assessments conducted by police officers, who are typically the frontline responders to violent situations. Professor Henrik Belfrage and his colleagues are among the first to address these important and practical issues.
Belfrage et al. examined the use of the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide (SARA) by Swedish police officers in a sample of 429 male spousal assaulters. Using a prospective design, offenders were followed for an average of 18 months following assessment, and new spousal-related violations were recorded. However, an innovation in this study was that officers were also asked to document their recommended “protective actions” using a structured menu of 14 interventions for offenders and victims (e.g., no-contact order, alarm system installed, contacting a shelter). Thus, the researchers were able to examine the association among risk assessment, risk management, and recidivism.
The study produced three important results. First, it was found that the SARA risk assessments were significantly related to risk management recommendations: As risk increased, so did the number of recommended protective actions. Second, SARA numerical scores and summary risk ratings (low, moderate, or high) were significantly related to recidivism, with higher risk ratings corresponding to higher rates of reoffending. Finally, the researchers found that risk management mediated the relationship between risk assessment and recidivism. More specifically, it was evident that more intensive risk management was associated with reduced recidivism in high risk offenders but increased offending in low risk offenders. The latter finding, consistent with the risk principle often discussed in the corrections literature, suggests that management resources are best spent on high risk perpetrators; too much intervention with lower risk offenders might interfere with pre-existing, effective coping strategies. The authors quote Andrews and Dowden (2006): “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
This study is the first to demonstrate that risk assessment can directly assist police officers in making effective management decisions with domestic violence cases. It is also one of the first studies in the broader violence field to demonstrate empirically the pathway from risk assessment to risk management to the prevention of violent behaviour.
Andrews, D. A., & Dowden, C. (2006). Risk principle of case classification in correctional treatment: A meta-analytic investigation. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 50, 88-100.
New Standards for Assessing and Managing Risk for Workplace Violence
ASIS International and the Society for Human Resources and Management (2011). American National Standard: Workplace violence prevention and intervention. Available from: http://www.asisonline.org/guidelines/published.htm
New standards have been developed for workplace violence prevention and intervention by ASIS International (ASIS) and Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). Although these standards were developed in the United States they have international implications and should be reviewed by all organizations committed to addressing the issue of violence in the workplace. The standards reflect a consensus among professionals from diverse disciplines regarding practices viewed as effective, recommended and essential for assessing and managing risk of workplace violence and will assist workplaces in discharging their responsibilities related to occupational health and safety.
Specifically, the standard provides an overview of policies, processes, and protocols organizations can adopt to identify and prevent risk for workplace violence as well as address and resolve incidents of workplace violence that have occurred. For instance, it discusses the implementation of a comprehensive program for workplace violence prevention and intervention including conducting a needs assessment, implementing a workplace violence prevention policy, developing a interdisciplinary threat management team, establishing an incident management process, developing protocols to address emergencies, implementing training, and responding to incidents.
The requirements and recommendations of these standards are at a general level, therefore, the organization has both the flexibility and responsibility to implement specific intervention and prevention strategies appropriate for their setting. To purchase a copy of this standard see the ASIS International website.
A Workplace Violence Resource for Employers
Marc McElhaney is a consulting psychologist and certified mediator who works exclusively in the areas of threat assessment, critical incident management, and conflict resolution. For many years now, he has assisted workplaces in the United States with assessing and managing risk for violence and with developing violence prevention policies and crisis response programs.
Aggression in the Workplace: Preventing and Managing High Risk Behavior provides both thoughtful insights and practical guidance related to assessing and managing aggression in the workplace. Although the purpose of the book is not to train individuals any particular approach to violence risk assessment and management, the principles are remarkably consistent with structured professional judgment guidelines with the emphasis on the contextual and dynamic nature of violence and the ultimate goal of violence prevention. Perhaps the biggest strength of the book is how it places violence risk assessment and management within the larger context of workplace violence prevention. For example, Marc emphasis the need for implementation of pre-employment screening, development of a workplace violence policy, promotion of employee involvement, implementation of employee training programs, and the development of threat response teams. Throughout the book, Marc provides insightful case examples to illustrate the importance and complexity of issues related to assessing and managing risk for violence in a workplace context. Within the appendices he also provides practical samples which workplaces could readily draw from such as a workplace violence prevention policy, a return to work agreement, and a termination agreement.
Aggression in the Workplace: Preventing and Managing High Risk Behavior is a nice complement to the new Standards for Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention reviewed in the practice update. It a must read for a employer interested in learning more about how to put the ASIS/SHRM standards into practice.
McElhaney, M. (2004). Aggression in the Workplace: Preventing and Managing High Risk Behavior. Bloomington: AuthorHouse. [ISBN: 978-1418461959]
Industry Association News
Australasian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
Message from President Lisa Warren
AATAP was officially inaugurated in December 2011. Our first meeting was in Melbourne, Australia and exceeded our expectations with approximately 40 delegates in attendance from a wide range of disciplines including psychiatry, psychology, law enforcement, security, and university counselling services.
The meeting established that there is widespread enthusiasm for an association in Australia and Singapore that brings together threat assessment professionals in order to enhance risk assessment through the dissemination of contemporary knowledge and being able to draw on the expertise from a broad range of specialists. In the coming years, we are hoping to expand interest in the association across the Southern Hemisphere.
Our first meeting saw the election of the AATAP Executive Committee, whom I am pleased to introduce. Dr. Stephen Allnut is a Forensic Psychiatrist from New South Wales, Dr. Rachel MacKenzie a Clinical/Forensic Psychologist from Victoria, Dr. Michele Pathé is a Forensic Psychiatrist from Queensland, Mr. Geoff Brown a security specialist from Microsoft Asia, Dr. Deb Bennett is a Police Officer and Psychologist from Victoria, and Gabriel Ong is a Senior Psychologist from Singapore. My background is in Clinical/Forensic Psychology.
The Committee comprises an extremely experienced and dedicated group of professionals who share an interest in developing and promoting the progression of stalking and threat management nationally and internationally. It is anticipated that AATAP will help secure this vision. The aims of AATAP are: (1) to promote the discipline of stalking and threat management in Australasia; (2) to support the development of best practice in cases involving individuals thought to pose a threat to a person or persons they have targeted; (3) to encourage cross-discipline collaboration in the practice of threat management and the sharing of expertise between disciplines; (4) to support academic research in the field of stalking and threat management; and (5) to sponsor an annual international conference on threat management.
AATAP is looking forward to a successful year in 2012. Our 2nd Annual Threat Assessment Conference will be held in Melbourne on the 8th and 9th November. We are hoping that this conference will provide the opportunity to bring together delegates from across the world attend and extend a warm invitation to our colleagues from ATAP, CATAP and AETAP. The theme of the conference is still being decided but will likely be The Development of Stalking and Threat Management Across Nations.
In addition to our annual conference, AATAP is looking to develop a range of professional education seminars and support academic research in the fields of stalking and threat management. If you are considering a trip to our region and might be interested in presenting to our members please contact us on AustralasianATAP@gmail.com.
Developing AATAP is going to carry several challenges, not least of which involves the cultural diversity that exists within our region and often the distances that must be travelled to meet. We have been inspired by the exponential success of AETAP who have faced similar challenges and thrived. I have had the privilege of being involved at the AETAP conferences in Berlin and Tallinn and was thoroughly impressed with the collegial environment and multinational stance. AATAP aims to follow suit.
On a personal note, I am delighted to be attending the 22nd Annual Threat Management Conference in Los Angeles in August. I look forward to meeting many threat management colleagues and bringing Northern Hemisphere know-how down under!
Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals
Conference Recap by Executive Board Member Mr. Totti Karpela
The European association of threat assessment professionals was proud to host the 5th European conference in Krakow, Poland. This year we had a total number of 70 participants from 14 different countries and 3 continents. We were extremely pleased to have professionals from the USA and Canada, but our title for the “longest distance traveled for the conference” went again to 3 Aussies.
The program had a broad variety of topics ranging from law enforcement topics, the role of social media in stalking cases, honor based violence studies in Sweden, checklists for police officers interviewing individuals who exhibit approach behavior towards dignitaries and heads of state, case management of persistent complainers, lone (or as we suggested lonely) wolves, corporate security topics, and case studies. Also, one of the highlights was definitely having leading academics such as Drs. Mullen, James, Hoffmann, Hart, Kropp, Belfrage, and Meloy to present in the same conference.
Our social events included the start-up cocktails at Hotel Stary’s magnificent roof-top terrace, right next to the historic Market Square. The gala dinner was held at the Wieliczka Salt Mines, the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Our participants enjoyed the tour of the mine that was started in the 13th century. The dinner was held in one of the great halls in a depth of over 100 meters. Visits to Auschwitz concentration camp and Schindler’s factory were also on the unofficial travel plans of many our participants.
We also put into practice some of the things that we learned from past years participation in the CATAP conference. This time we had longer breaks and a slightly shorter program, which was done to promote networking amongst participants.
During the week we also had an excellent meeting with representatives from ATAP, CATAP, and AETAP. This meeting provided us more direction for our first official gathering to be held at the ATAP conference in Anaheim, California in August 2012.
Next year we are meeting in the beautiful and historic city of Vienna, Austria. Please do take the time and join us between April 22-26, 2013.
Training Opportunity for Sex Offender Specialists
Catherine M. Wilson, a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, is conducting a research study examining the reliability of structured professional judgments made using the Risk for Sexual Violence Protocol (RSVP).
The study involves learning how to use the RSVP and completing a series of 6 risk assessments of actual clinical cases—the same on-line RSVP training program available through CONCEPT, an accredited CE provider. You may sign up for the RSVP training program through the CONCEPT website.
Those who complete the training will receive:
(a) A copy of the RSVP manual.
(b) Personalized feedback on each of the 6 risk assessments.
(c) A certification confirming completion of the program and demonstration of competence in the use of the RSVP.
(d) 20 hours of CE credits.
The usual cost of the on-line RSVP training program is USD $500. But if you consent to allow Cathy to use your ratings in her research, she will refund 100% of your tuition fees. That means you will receive 20 hours of CE credit at no charge!
If you don’t want or need CE credits—for example, if you are a doctoral-level student who wants to complete the training for course credit or you can’t afford to pay the tuition fees—please contact Cathy directly at email@example.com.
Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
August 14-17, 2012
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.
Violence Risk Assessment and Management for Tertiary and TAFE Institutions
September 10-12, 2012
September 17-19, 2012
Canadian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
September 24-28, 2012
Third International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector
October 24-26, 2012
Vancouver, British Columbia
Australasian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
November 8-9, 2012
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.
Violence Risk Assessment and Management for Health Care Settings
November 26-30, 2012
Vancouver, British Columbia
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Email your feedback to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or associate editor (email@example.com).
Mid Sweden University
Vancouver Police Department / President, CATAP
Fixated Threat Assessment Centre
J. Reid Meloy
Operational Consulting International, Inc.
University of Virginia
James R. P. Ogloff
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Ontario Provincial Police
Heriot Watt University
San Diego County / President, ATAP
Bram van der Meer
Black Swan Forensics / President, AETAP
Stephen D. Hart
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.
Kelly A. Watt
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.