Threat Assessment Community of Practice (TA-COP)
Violence risk and threat assessment is the process of gathering and analyzing information related to an actual or implied threat or concerning behavior. This is used to weigh risk and protective factors in a fair and equitable manner to establish an objective, evidence-based level of danger with an eye towards reducing bias and establishing intervention strategies to mitigate potential violence to an individual or larger community.
The TA-COP Community of Practice is made up of three main areas:
You are here now! This website contains free resources such as articles, whitepapers, a video describing violence risk and threat assessment processes as a function of the BIT, an episode from Audio Essentials (a brief overview of threat assessment concepts from Brian Van Brunt), and much more! We will update this page as new resources become available.
Dr. Brian Van Brunt (and invited guests) will review important threat concepts and cases and share insights related to assessment, intervention, and ongoing management. Like a lighthouse providing direction for ships approaching a stormy coast, these reviews will provide clarity and guidance on issues related to identifying, assessing, prevention, and managing threat and risk. See below for more information about Lighthouse Lessons, including the August 2020 first episode discussing the growing dangers of the White supremacist movement on social media.
We have created several forms and checklists that can be downloaded and customized to meet the needs of your staff and department. More information about these forms is included below.
NaBITA’s Threat Assessment Community of Practice (TA-COP) will provide information on mass attacks, school shootings, risk, and protective factors, resources on deception detection, bias and interviewing techniques. If you have ideas for growth or additional resources, please contact Brian Van Brunt.
Threat Assessment Organizations and Training Groups
Professor Dewey Cornell of the University of Virginia has extensive experience conducting threat assessment training for schools. Our group is made up of practicing psychologists with substantial experience in school and clinical settings working with children, youth, and adults. We understand the importance of a developmental and systems perspective to help school staff make good decisions that both maintain school safety and help students be successful.
SIGMA Threat Management Associates is a team of leading experts in behavioral threat assessment and threat management. We provide threat assessment and violence prevention services to businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, military units, law enforcement and security professionals, and prominent individuals and family offices.
Safer Schools Together (SST) has a proven record of helping schools throughout North America minimize and manage their risks of student violence with reliable, professional training. We are the first company chosen to deliver mandated provincial Violence Threat Assessment & Preventing Bullying Training to schools and communities in Canada.
ProActive ReSolutions is an internationally recognized leader in helping organizations build respectful workplaces – where people treat each other with dignity and civility, feel safe and secure, and collaborate productively. We offer a full range of integrated products to help prevent conflict, repair relationships that have been harmed by conflict, and protect people whose health and safety are threatened by conflict. Organizations that use our products experience increased productivity and profitability while reducing operational costs and risks.
The Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP) was founded in 1992 as a non-profit organization comprised of law enforcement, prosecutors, mental health professionals, corporate security experts, probation and parole personnel and others involved in the area of threat and violence risk assessment. The purpose of ATAP is to afford its members a professional and educational environment to exchange ideas and strategies to address such issues as stalking, threats, and homeland security.
The WAVR-21 – Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk – is a 21-item coded instrument for the structured assessment of workplace and campus targeted violence risk. Training in the use of the WAVR-21 is highly recommended, as well as access to professional consultation commensurate with the apparent seriousness and complexity of any threat scenario.
MOSAIC is an error avoidance method, a computer-assisted method for conducting comprehensive assessments – in the same way that diagnosis is a method used by a doctor. An effective medical diagnosis results when a doctor knows which questions to ask, knows which tests will produce the most accurate answers, and then knows how to draw relevant conclusions from all the answers combined together.
Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model
This operational guide provides direction on how to prevent targeted school violence.
Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters
By articulating the concrete, observable pre-attack behaviors of many active shooters, the FBI hopes to make these warning signs more visible and easily identifiable.
Making Prevention a Reality
This report is based on a symposium of researchers, mental health experts, and law enforcement officials addressing the effective prevention of the active shooter phenomenon.
Mass Victimization: Promising Avenues for Prevention
This document identifies strategies that contribute to preventing, not predicting, targeted violence resulting in mass casualty events.
Protective Intelligence Threat Assessment Investigations
This guide describes an approach to threat assessment that can be of assistance to law enforcement and security with protective intelligence duties.
Indicators of School Crime and Safety
This report covers victimization, teacher injury, bullying, and electronic bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, student perceptions of personal safety at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions.
Threat Assessment in Schools
This is a guide for managing threatening situations in the school setting and for creating safer school climates by setting a process for identifying, assessing, and managing students who may pose a threat.
Report on the Arapahoe High School Shooting
The purpose of this report was to understand the school’s threat and risk assessment procedures and responses, and lessons learned to improve youth violence prevention across the U.S.
The Concept of Leakage in Threat Assessment
This article defines leakage and explains how it can help in the prevention of mass-casualty attacks.
The Role of Warning Behaviors in Threat Assessment
The concept of warning behaviors offers an additional perspective on threat assessment. This paper offers an explanation and suggested typology.
The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative
This is the culmination of an extensive examination of 37 incidents of targeted school violence that occurred in the United States from December 1974 through May 2000.
An Exploration of the Risk, Protective, and Mobilization Factors to Violent Extremism in College Populations
This article examines risk factors for violent extremism, mobilization factors contributing to violent actions, and protective factors that reduce the potential for violence.
Rampage School Shooters: A Typology
This article examines the cases of ten rampage school shooters in an effort to find out not only how they are alike, but also how they differ.
Debunking the Myth: Mental Illness and Mass Shootings
There is a pervasive assumption that mental illness equates to dangerousness and violence as it relates to mass shootings. The researchers examine the assumption.
Using Suspicious Activity Reporting and Threat Assessments to Enhance School Safety
Informed, alert communities play a critical role in keeping the nation safe. This article explains the importance of encouraging reporting of suspicious activity.
Shooting Alone: The Pre-Attack Experiences and Behaviors of U.S. Solo Mass Murderers
This article examines various properties of 115 mass shooters in the U.S. between 1990 and 2014 in search of commonalities.
Threat Assessment: Defining an Approach for Evaluating Risk of Targeted Violence
This paper attempts to define an approach developed by the Secret Service and apply it within the existing professional/scientific literature on risk assessment.
Assessing Threat in Written Communications, Social Media, and Creative Writing
This article provides a framework for reviewing and understanding written messages and assessing them for potential lethality and dangerousness.
Violence Risk Assessment: Getting Specific About Being Dynamic
In this article, the authors differentiate risk status from risk state, analyze the relevance of contemporary risk assessment measures for capturing dynamic risk, and distill dynamic risk factors from the literature.
The Contagion Effect as it Relates to Public Mass Shootings and Suicides
The authors provide relevant research and advice to assist Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs) toward reducing the risk of copycat public mass shootings and suicides.
The Warning Behaviors of Anders Breivik
This case study looks at Anders Breivik’s activities and mental state through the lens of eight warning behaviors that may indicate proximal and dynamic patterns of risk for targeted violence: pathway.
Threat Assessment Books
The Concept of Leakage in Threat Assessment
This guide summarizes the existing literature on campus teams and suggests some of the key issues that should be considered when creating or managing a campus team.
Threat Assessment: A Risk Management Approach
Detailed “how to’s” of threat assessment—from the initial contact to the sharing of results.
The Handbook for Campus Threat Assessment & Management Teams
The handbook presents the guiding principles and key practices of campus threat assessment and management.
Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention
This book will be useful for student affairs professionals as well as college counselors, psychologists, social workers interested in the practical management of aggression and violence on a college campus.
Harm to Others: The Assessment and Treatment of Dangerousness
This book offers students and clinicians an effective way to increase their knowledge of and training in violence risk and threat assessment while providing a comprehensive examination of current treatment approaches
Dangerous Instincts: Use an FBI Profiler’s Tactics to Avoid Unsafe Situations
Whether you are opening the door to a stranger or meeting a date you connected with online, you need to know how to protect yourself from harm-physical, financial, legal, and professional.
Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters
In this breakthrough analysis, Dr. Peter Langman presents the psychological causes of school shootings and offers unprecedented insight into why certain teens exhibit the potential to kill.
The Like Switch
From a former FBI Special Agent specializing in behavior analysis and recruiting spies comes a handbook filled with his proven strategies on how to instantly read people and influence how they perceive you, so you can easily turn on the like switch.
Threat and Violence Risk Assessment Tools
MOSAIC Threat Assessment Systems
MOSAIC is an error avoidance method, a computer-assisted method for conducting comprehensive assessments
The WAVR-21 – Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk – is a 21-item coded instrument for the structured assessment of workplace and campus targeted violence risk.
FAVT: Firestone Assessment of Violent Thoughts
Assesses the underlying thoughts that predispose violent behavior in adults ages 18 to 75 years (FAVT) and adolescents ages 11 to 18 years (FAVT-A).
The Structured Interview for Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35) is a thirty-five-item inventory used to assist Behavioral Intervention Team members and clinical staff in conducting a more thorough and research-based violence risk assessment.
Harm to Others: The Assessment and Treatment of Dangerousness
In clinical settings, the PCL-R is used for psycho-diagnostic purposes.
Version 3 of the HCR-20 is the latest version of a comprehensive set of professional guidelines for violence risk assessment and management based on the Structured Professional Judgement (SPJ) model.
The ISP List is a database of Internet service and other online content providers that will help you get the information you need for your case.