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Training

Training is designed according to the organizational need, requirements, and participant skill-level. Training topics include introductory and annual refresher sessions on workplace violence prevention for new or line employees, to more advanced topics for supervisors and managers, to highly specialized topics for threat management teams.

Workplace Violence Prevention Program Review

This half-day consultation will address the following:

  • A review of the organizations culture and current violence prevention practices
  • Conducting a needs assessment (risk audit) identifying any past activity in an effort to identify trends (e.g., frequency of concerns, types of threats, violent behaviors, perpetrators, victims, and case outcomes) to use as a baseline of past performance
  • Reviewing any current or anticipated challenges, risks, and vulnerabilities
  • Reviewing current workplace violence prevention and other relevant policies (fitness for duty)
  • Meet with existing threat management team members to review level of experience, training, and other supportive skill-sets
  • Review current threat management process and protocol
  • Discuss future training needs

Basic Threat Management Team Development

This full day training will address the following:

  • Current trends and concerns regarding workplace violence
  • Review organizational risk: needs evaluation, WPV policy, pre-employment screening
  • Elements of a successful threat management program and team, methods of reporting concerns and operational response protocol, supervisor training, and employee awareness
  • Survey organizational challenges: communication, enabling, preventive vs. reactive responding
  • Review workplace targeted violence: discuss pathways to violence, affective vs. predatory violence, workplace violence specific risk factors, threatening communications, risk reducing protective factors, review types of concerns (disgruntled current or former employee, his / her partner, and third party individuals)
  • Discuss early reporting, initial intake information, and initial screening
  • Review important data sources
  • A brief introduction to using the WAVR-21 Short Forms – structured screening and evaluation tools
  • Interviewing relevant individuals (witnesses, victims/targets, person of interest)
  • Role and responsibility: HR, Security, Legal, EAP, Managers
  • Role of professional evaluation and case management professionals
  • Review indirect vs. direct evaluations vs. fitness for duty and complex combination cases
  • Operational implications of level of risk vs. level of concern
  • Intervention options and issues

Workplace Assesment of Violence Risk (WAVR-21)

The WAVR-21 – Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk – is a 21-item coded instrument for the structured assessment of workplace targeted violence risk. First published in 2007 by its co-developers, Drs. Stephen White and Reid Meloy, the WAVR-21 reflects the authors’ extensive case and forensic experience and a thorough review of the research literature. The WAVR is now in its second edition, published in 2010. Appropriate coding forms are provided for both clinical and non-clinical users who are typically involved in the threat assessment and management endeavor. The manual is written in an accessible style, with both clinical and non-clinical users in mind, that any threat management practitioner may gain a fundamental understanding of workplace violence risk.

The WAVR-21 assists qualified clinical and forensic risk assessment specialists (referred to as “Professional Users”) through its comprehensive Coding Grid, Worksheet, and the accompanying manual with its detailed definitions of the risk factor items. It assists “Corporate Users” – typically human resources, security, and legal personnel, as well as law enforcement professionals – who become involved in the threat management process through the WAVR Short Forms (described below). The Short Forms orient Corporate Users to information they will need to gather to assist with the threat management process.

The primary focus of the WAVR-21 is to assess the risk of workplace targeted violence. A term originally coined by the behavioral scientists of the US Secret Service, targeted violence refers to situations in which an individual intentionally commits an act of violence against a pre-selected target, whether people or places. Also referred to as intended violence, these acts are potentially foreseeable, as they are the result of an understandable, evolving and often discernable process of thinking, behavior, and preparation. Several of the WAVR-21 factors incorporate this “pathway to violence” escalation dynamic.

The WAVR’s secondary purpose is to capture and assess the risk, frequency, and severity of other forms of non-homicidal workplace aggression such as stalking, disruptive anger problems, menacing behavior and bullying. These manifestations of aggression are common and problematic to a workplace community in themselves, and could also figure into the ultimate formulation of a subject who may pose a risk of targeted homicide. This view is consistent with contemporary formulations that targeted violence is continuous, contextual, and dynamic.

The item domains of the WAVR – static and dynamic – include psychological, behavioral, historical, and situational factors associated with workplace violence, including intimate partner violence posing a threat to the workplace. In practice, threat assessment and threat management are intertwined. Dynamic risk factors (e.g., acute psychosis, access to weapons or targets) become the focus of interventions intended to reduce risk. Assessment and monitoring are ongoing, and an individual’s response to various interventions (e.g., escalation, de-escalation, or no apparent change) become part of the changing opinion of risk level. Information relevant to employment and workplace investigations is incorporated into the risk factors and inquiry questions.

Along with the manual, the WAVR-21 “tool kit” includes the following forms. They can be used flexibly to meet the demands and challenges of dynamic workplace threat management:

  • Case Intake and Information Form: This form documents identifying information and raw case data – the “who, what, when, where, and how” – chronologies of threat scenarios, and actions taken.
  • Coding Grid: This version of the full WAVR is intended for mental health professionals, referred to as “Professional Users,” qualified and experienced in the assessment of violence risk, and familiar with workplace dynamics, policies and practices.
  • Worksheet: This expansion of the Coding Grid includes the definitions of the risk factors and note taking sections under each item.
  • Short Forms: Two short forms are intended for non-clinical threat team members, typically human resources, security, and legal personnel, referred to as “Corporate Users.” We also include law enforcement professionals in this group. The Short Forms do not use clinical or diagnostic terminology, but emphasize observable behaviors and workplace contextual factors. Both forms come in an “expanded” version, available with the eWAVR and provided in WAVR trainings. The expanded forms include queries to assist with the investigative-assessment process.
  • Short Form: “Violence Risk:” This form identifies 12 risk-relevant categories for organizing case information and to screen cases for violence potential.
  • Short Form: “Protect:” This form identifies six protective factor categories which may reduce violence risk. They are incorporated collectively as well as an item within the full Coding Grid.

The Short Forms help teams to expeditiously gather and organize important data relevant to their own tasks, and that a threat assessment professional can then use to evaluate risk more formally.

The WAVR-21 is not a psychological test or scale, and does not generate a quantitative “score.” However, the WAVR-21 exemplifies the growing trend in risk assessment technology toward the use of “structured professional judgment” guides (SPJs). In this organized but non-quantitative format, responders refer to a list of factors, each of which has some form of coding criteria with a demonstrated relationship to violence. Such guidelines improve the consistency and transparency of assessment decision-making. Other structured guides exist to assess the violence risk associated with psychopathy, spousal abuse, released violent offenders, sex offenders, youth offenders, and discharged mental patients. SPJs are also generally prescriptive: they identify interventions and actions to manage and reduce a subject’s possible violence risk.

By incorporating scientific findings in its definition of violence risk factors, the WAVR-21 attempts to bridge the gap between research and the practical case management needs of workplace-based practitioners. An extensive literature search and resulting reference list underpins the WAVR-21, translating into a rational and defensible approach to assessing and responding to workplace threat scenarios. Clinical judgment is still a necessity, and always will be, in reaching opinions of risk and appropriate, wise responses.

In this regard the WAVR is not a risk management intervention guide per se. The manual offers some basic principles of prevention and risk mitigation. Case examples in the appendix include intervention suggestions. Certain intervention strategies, “do’s and don’ts,” are also posed in the discussion of the individual risk factor items in chapter 5. Training, experience, and access to consultation resources bring competence to the practice of resolving cases safely and wisely.

The WAVR-21 tools should ideally be used from the beginning and throughout a workplace or campus threat management case. Their use is intended to be consistent with the dynamic flow of workplace threat management, the differing degrees of urgency which cases present, and the need for flexibility by threat management teams. In practice, threat assessment and threat management are intertwined. Dynamic risk factors become the focus of ongoing interventions intended to reduce risk. Assessment and monitoring are ongoing, and an individual’s response to various interventions (e.g., escalation, de-escalation, or no apparent change) become part of the evolving opinion of risk level. Use of the tools, data sources, and documentation considerations are explained in chapter 4 of the manual under Basic Procedures.

The eWAVR – the electronic version of the WAVR – is easy to install and use. It is not software. The eWAVR exists as a set of Microsoft Infopath templates. The templates are easily maintained internally. Case data can be stored as files within SharePoint or on local file shares. Clients may incorporate the eWAVR forms into their existing case management electronic data systems.

The benefits of the WAVR-21 include that it is a scientifically-grounded assessment tool, an educational resource, and improves communication among the multi-disciplinary members of the incident management process. In sum, the WAVR is intended to improve the quality of threat assessment and case management decision-making.

Drs. Stephen White and Reid Meloy have approved Dr. Brenzinger to provide WAVR-21 short form training. To learn more about the comprehensive two-day WAVR training, or to see a 9-minute demonstration of the eWAVR please click here (www.wtsglobal.com)

Go to WAVR-21 website (http://www.wavr21.com/)

Advanced Threat Management Team Training

This one day training is intended for established threat management teams who have already completed the Workplace Evaluation of Violence Risk (WAVR-21) one-day Short Form course. This training provides participants with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to a range of case vignettes. This approach further refines the skill set of the threat management team as they are challenged to support their operational decisions and rationale while receiving instructor feedback.

Managing Domestic Violence and Stalking in the Workplace

Domestic violence and stalking is a real and present security risk in any organization. In some cases, it crosses the line into the workplace and an employee may be the target of threatening phone calls or emails, and in more serious cases is absent because of physical injuries or psychological distress. Domestic violence is a serious, but recognizable and preventable problem.

This half to full day training will address the following:

  • Current trends and concerns regarding domestic violence and stalking in the workplace
  • Defining the employers role of recognition, response and referral
  • Employer legal issues
  • Formal policy options, increasing awareness, and staff training
  • Batterer and stalker typologies
  • Recognizing the early warning signs of abuse
  • Interventions, when and how to interview and assist the employee-survivor
  • The role of the threat management team
  • Review investigation strategies and related issues
  • Discuss methods to assess the abuser / stalker
  • Review interventions for both the survivor and abuser / stalker
  • Review pragmatic security options