The Business of Practice

Violence Risk Assessment - From Certificate to Career

The public, credentialing organizations, the legal system, school systems, and various other stakeholders expect and need mental health and legal professionals to have competency in violence risk assessment.

 

Violence Risk Assessment - From Certificate to Career

Training in violence risk assessment and management is often lacking, and research has demonstrated that less training and experience is associated with inaccurate violence risk assessment. 

Empirical research was the root of dramatic changes in attitude toward violence risk assessment and management, and now it is understood that a professional’s level of training is directly related to the accuracy of violence risk assessment. Failure to correctly identify individuals who pose a high risk could jeopardize public safety. Conversely, erroneously deeming individuals high risk could lead to unjustified restrictions of their liberty, public stigma, and needless expense.

Violence Risk Assessment Learnings

  • How to document and evaluate evidence for and against a given risk factor to facilitate balanced assessments and assist with justifying opinions
  • How to conduct behavioral violence risk and threat assessments and implement management strategies for public safety

How Can The Violence Risk Assessment Certificate Enhance My Career?

Higher Quality Work
  • Training significantly contributes to the overall success of violence prevention, threat management, and risk assessment.
  • Explicit knowledge of the scientifically supported (and unsupported) uses of an evidenced-based assessment instrument permits proper application, leading to increased accuracy in predicting risk.
  • A highly trained and experienced evaluator gives the consumer of the risk assessment confidence in the opinion provided and increases the chance that they will retain that professional for future evaluations.
  • Provide timely and appropriate referrals to support services and coordinate collaborative intervention plans with various resources to minimize or resolve concerns.
Development & Implementation
  • Practitioners can use the theory, assessment tools, and implementation techniques to develop feasible guidelines for monitoring, to assess, and handling violence risks and threats. 
  • Employ data-driven interventions, monitor progress, update risk status judgments, and make decisions concerning privileges, conditional release or release on parole, revocation of release, and more.
Disseminate Knowledge 
  • Clinicians and legal professionals can educate other members of a multidisciplinary team on violence risk and the guidelines for assessment.

What Career Can I Have After Earning The Violence Risk Assessment Certificate?

In addition to experience conducting violence risk assessments, most types of employment in the field want an individual to possess knowledge of violence prevention and intervention techniques. This understanding, coupled with theoretical and practical knowledge of interpersonal violence, sets practitioners aside from their colleagues. 

Consultation 
  • Evaluate threats of violence and violent behavior that impact an environment and make time-sensitive recommendations to erode violence and increase safety and perceptions of safety. 
  • Provide a comprehensive methodology for institutions and organizations to drive efforts to reduce incidents of violence, injuries stemming from those incidents, and the severity of injuries.
Some common questions clients ask are: 
  1. Does an individual pose a risk for violence? If so, under what conditions are they likely to commit violence?
  2. What risk factors are related to an individual’s potential for violence while receiving mental health treatment in the least restrictive environment?
  3. What is an effective way to intervene with preventive measures to manage the risk for violence in post-secondary institutions?
  4. How can violence risk be mitigated in the workplace?
  5. What would increase an individual’s risk of engaging in physical or sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence, or harm to themself? And, how should risk be managed?

Psychiatric Inpatient Units

In mental health care, violence risk assessment is a routine part of clinical services, particularly in psychiatric hospitals. Research on violence risk assessment techniques and tools has found that the use of assessment tools helps manage violence and aggression in psychiatric facilities. In addition, using prediction models and risk tools learned while earning this certification can assist clinical decisions and improve linkage to violence-reducing interventions such as medication optimization and follow-up frequency.

Community Services

In 2020, the FBI reported that hate crimes were the highest in 12 years, meaning that violence motivated by bias against a race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity has increased - instilling fear across entire communities. 

Violence risk assessment and management professionals in the community can provide comprehensive services to individual clients, families, and communities impacted by violence. 

While some violence has an identified motive, this is not always the case. However, professionals who can provide comprehensive psychiatric evaluations can give other professionals and the community a better understanding of violence and its contributing factors. This certificate will teach professionals essential skills to accurately and soundly convey their findings from an assessment to individuals outside the field.  

Another community-based service is assisted outpatient treatment (AOT), also known as outpatient commitment (OPC). AOT/OPC is when an individual with serious mental illness is court-ordered to comply with treatment in the community. Currently, 44 states have statutes allowing these programs, and research has demonstrated that they decrease violent behavior. Within these systems, mental health professionals are tasked with conducting initial and ongoing psychiatric assessments, including the risk of harm to themselves or others.

Primary & Secondary Schools

Data from the Center of Homeland Defense and Security show that gunfire incidents on U.S. school grounds have sharply increased in recent years. Columbine, Uvalde, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and many others have impacted multiple systems. As a result, students, staff, and families worldwide are now keenly aware that this form of violence could happen to anyone. This unsettling reality has been the catalyst for school districts and other associated professionals to examine how to evaluate threats and handle high-risk situations closely.

Post-Secondary Institutions

Violence in post-secondary institutions is a problem that has gained much attention over the last decade, partly due to tragic cases involving students, staff, faculty, and community members. As a result, significant advances have been made to understand the nature of this problem and establish teams to address it.

Workplace Violence

Risk assessment professionals working in industrial and organizational settings often work with companies to address employees’ behaviors of concern. These behaviors may include verbally threatening others, engaging in threatening behaviors, physical violence, stalking or unwanted pursuit, sexual violence, or other activities that violate the company’s policies. 

Interested In Violence Risk? Here Are Some Next Steps...
  • Earn the certificate
  • Attend other trainings outside the scope of this certificate
  • Attend conferences 
  • Subscribe to academic journals 

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