Talking BITs: Violence Risk Assessment to Support the Title IX Compliance Process

Threat assessment is the process of assessing the actionability of violence from an individual to another person or group following theissuance of a direct or conditional threat. A Violence Risk Assessment (VRA) is a broader term used to assess any potential violence or danger, regardless of the presence of a vague, conditional, or direct threat. VRA’s require specific training and are typically conducted by psychologists, clinical counselors, social workers, case managers, law enforcement officers, student conduct officers, or other Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT)/CARE team members. A VRA authorized by the Title IX Coordinator should occur in collaboration with the BIT, CARE or threat assessment team. A VRA is not an evaluation for an involuntary behavioral health hospitalization (e.g. 5150 in California, Section XII in Massachusetts, Baker Act in Florida), nor is it a psychological or mental health assessment. A VRA assesses the risk of actionable violence, often with a focus on targeted/predatory escalations and is supported by research from the fields of law enforcement, criminology, human resources, and psychology.

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