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Threat Assessment and Management Workshop - learn the art and science of threat assessment


Welcome to the second 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, Rethinking the Role of Mental Disorder in Public Figure Stalking, along with other research news and views can be found in this issue.

We hope Intelligence will continue to provide a forum for you to share and develop your expertise in threat assessment.

Stephen D. Hart, PhD
Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
Director, Proactive ReSolutions Inc.



Latest research



Rethinking the Role of Mental Disorder in Public Figure Stalking

Meloy, J. R., James, D. V., Mullen, P. E., Pathe, M. T., Farnham, F. R., Preston, L. F., & Darnley, B. J. (2011). Factors associated with escalation and problematic approaches towards public figures. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 56, 128-135. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01574.x]

Strong claims have been made that serious mental illness is a relatively unimportant risk factor for violence generally and for threats towards public figures more specifically. However, a recent review by J. Reid Meloy and colleagues (2011) of the Fixated Persons Project casts doubt on these claims. They re-analyzed data from 6 different studies of public figure stalking. The most striking findings of their study were: (a) a high prevalence of serious mental illness across all studies, and (b) a significant association between serious mental illness and approach behavior in five of the six studies. The primary features of mental illness observed in these studies were psychotic symptoms, and especially grandiosity.

Meloy et al. (2011) are not alone in their findings. For example, Park E. Dietz and Dan Martell (2010) discussed the importance of mental illness in a paper on public figure stalking. And with respect to violence more generally, Kevin S. Douglas and colleagues (2009) meta-analyzed 204 studies and found psychosis was a robust risk factor, especially for serious violence

As Meloy et al. (2011) point out, effective threat assessment and management may benefit from closer collaboration between criminal justice and mental health professionals. They note that such collaborations work well for agencies such as the United States Secret Service, the United States Capitol Police, the Netherlands National Police Agency, the Swedish Security Police, and the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre in the United Kingdom.

Also cited:

Dietz, P. E., & Martell, D. A. (2010). Approaching and stalking public figures—A prerequisite to attack. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 38, 341-348.

Douglas, K. S., Guy, L. S., & Hart, S. D. (2009). Psychosis as a risk factor for violence to others: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 679-706. [DOI: 10.1037/a0016311]


Practice update



Does Threat Assessment Training Work?

Storey, J. E., Gibas, A. E., Reeves, K. A., & Hart, S. D. (2011). Evaluation of violence risk (threat) assessment training programs for police and other criminal justice professionals. Criminal Justice and Behavior. [DOI: 10.1177/0093854811403123]

Extensive work has been done on developing and validating approaches to threat assessment over the last twenty years. Professionals around the world have been trained in the use of these approaches. Yet, there has been little evaluation of the extent to which training improves the practice of threat assessment.

Building primarily on the work done by Dale McNiel and colleagues (2008), who evaluated a violence risk assessment training program for mental health professionals, Jennifer Storey and colleagues (in press) examined the impact of threat assessment training for police and other criminal justice professionals. They conducted pre- and post-training assessment of participants in an intensive, 8-day threat assessment training workshop. They found statistically significant improvements in knowledge, as indicated by scores on a multiple-choice exam; skills, as indicated by analysis of case vignettes; and attitudes, as indicated by self-ratings of competence and confidence.

These findings should help threat assessment specialists justify the need for and usefulness of training efforts. Hopefully, they will also stimulate further research on how to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of training programs.

Also cited:

McNiel, D. E., Chamberlain, J. R., Weaver, C. M., Hall, S. E., Fordwood, S. R., & Binder, R. L. (2008). Impact of clinical training on violence risk assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 195-200. [DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.06081396]

Book review



Investigative and Forensic Interviewing: A Personality-Focused Approach

Craig Ackley and colleagues have written an excellent book on interviewing individuals with personality disorders. The authors have extensive experience, both individually and collectively. The team includes two former FBI employees, a special agent and a research analyst, and two clinical psychologists. Although the book focuses primarily on investigative interviews by police, it offers useful insights for those who conduct threat assessments—not just police, but also attorneys, probation and parole officers, and mental health professionals.

The chapters are organized by the personality styles that are most commonly encountered in the criminal justice system, such as narcissistic, borderline, psychopathic, paranoid, and schizoptypal. Each chapter provides illustrative vignettes, informative descriptions, and practical information about issues to consider both before and during interviews with people with different personality styles. For instance, the authors outline the behaviors one is likely to encounter, how to effectively respond to such behaviors,what types questions to ask, and how best to ask questions.

Ackley, C. N., Mack, S. M., Beyer, K., & Erdberg, P. (2011). Investigative and forensic interviewing: A personality-focused approach. Boca Raton: CRC Press. [ISBN: 978-1420084252]


Education Opportunity



Hofstra University

Hofstra University has started a masters program specializing in Forensic Linguistics. This is the first graduate program of its kind in the United States.

For more information, contact Dr. Robert Leonard by phone (1-516-463-5440) or e-mail (Robert.A.Leonard@hofstra.edu).

Learn more


Industry associations news



Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals

Message from the President, Bram van der Meer

Since it was founded in 2004, the fundamental goal of AETAP has been to bring together threat assessment professionals from different organizations around the world in a secure and professional environment. We are proud to have succeeded in making our conferences a meeting point for an increasing number of experts from various police, intelligence, military, security, and academic organizations representing 9 different countries. We have learned that creating the opportunity for threat assessment professionals from different backgrounds to connect is of great value to our members. With this philosophy in mind, we hope to contribute to the further development of the threat assessment field in the future.

Building on these positive developments, it is important for us to provide a high quality service to our members and fellow associations in North America. We will therefore maintain a focus on topics related to the assessment and management of threats. Our board will continue to play an active and supporting role in research and publishing, and we also hope to attract more academics to the field.

In the short term, our focus will be on developing a safe digital environment where members who need advice will have the possibility to access insight from other experienced professionals. Besides our existing news section on our website, we would like to provide an updated library section where research papers, news articles, books, and relevant internet links can be found.

AETAP also recently formed a working group in The Hague in April 2010 for the purpose of organizing European accreditation and certification for threat assessment professionals. As our field is receiving more attention in Europe, now is the time to develop professional quality standards, supported by research and practice, for consistent threat assessment and management.

The success of AETAP over the past few years would not have been possible without the support from our friends from CATAP and ATAP. We look forward to continuing the strong and warm relationship that received a positive surge at the 2010 CATAP conference in Banff, where the three organizations met together for the first time. We would like to thank the NCIS representatives and the initiators of this Intelligence Newsletter for your warm support and big efforts to build bridges between AETAP and the North American associations.

I would like to use this opportunity to invite all threat assessment professionals to our next conference that will take place in the beautiful old city of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. For more information about our organization and conference, please visit www.aetap.eu.


Upcoming events



Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals Annual Conference

April 12-15, 2011
Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, the beautiful and historic capital of Estonia, is the site of the next AETAP Annual Conference. The venue is the Swissôtel Tallinn, Estonia's only 5-star hotel. A special feature of the 2011 conference is a 1-day expert seminar on explicit threats, led by Dr. Lisa Warren.

Learn more

Association of Threat Assessment Professionals Upcoming Spring Regional Conference

April 18-19, 2011
Chicago, Illinois

Learn more


Association of Threat Assessment Professionals Upcoming Threat Management Conference

August 16-19, 2011
Anaheim, California

Learn more

Canadian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals Upcoming Conference

September 19-23, 2011
Banff, Alberta

Learn more

ProActive ReSolutions Inc. Violence Risk Assessment and Management Workshops

May 11-12, 2011
Canberra, Australia

May 16-19, 2011
Sydney, Australia

Learn more

ProActive ReSolutions Inc. Violence Risk Assessment and Management Workshop for Post-Secondary Institutions

May 30-June 3, 2011
Burnaby, British Columbia

Learn more





We welcome ideas for contributions from all readers.

E-mail your suggestions to the editor (shart@proactive-resolutions.com) or associate editor (kwatt@proactive-resolutions.com)

Provide feedback



Let us know what you like, what you want to read more about, or what you hope to see in the future.

Email your feedback to the editor (shart@proactive-resolutions.com) or associate editor (kwatt@proactive-resolutions.com).

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Threat Assessment and Management Workshop - learn the art and science of threat assessment


Latest research

Practice update

Book review

Education Opportunity

Industry associations news

Upcoming events


Henrik Belfrage
Mid Sweden University

Keith Dormond
Vancouver Police Department / President, CATAP

David James
Fixated Threat Assessment Centre

J. Reid Meloy
Forensis, Inc.

Kris Mohandie
Operational Consulting International, Inc.

John Monahan
University of Virginia

James R. P. Ogloff
Monash University

Mario Scalora
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Glenn Sheil
Ontario Provincial Police

Lorraine Sheridan
Heriot Watt University

Rachel Solov
San Diego County / President, ATAP

Bram van der Meer
Netherlands Police Agency / President, AETAP

Stephen D. Hart
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.

Threat Assessment and Management Workshop - learn the art and science of threat assessment
Threat Assessment and Management Workshop - learn the art and science of threat assessment
Threat Assessment and Management Workshop - learn the art and science of threat assessment