Towards ongoing screening for risk of violence

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Mertz, Michael B.
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, c2009
The intent of this project is to provide clinicians (and others providing frontline services) with the justification and information necessary to recognize and manage the risk of violence during service-provision. The academic literature has widely acknowledged that mental health professionals must be able to assess risk competently. Making reference to applicable ethical codes, this ethical responsibility is made explicit. After having established risk assessment as a critical element of mental health service-provision, risk assessment of violence is described paying special attention to foundational concepts and key strategies inline with current best-practice research. It becomes clear that frequent snapshots of acute dynamic risk factors allow for risk prediction and, more importantly, risk reduction. Despite this conclusion, a considerable portion of clinicians use solely clinical judgment or neglect to assess risk of violence altogether. Working towards resolution of this problem, the writer encourages that the ongoing consideration of risk be introduced as a mentality for clinicians. It is in this vein that a collection of variables empirically supported to predict violence was culled from the extant literature, integrated into a screening resource, and presented as a springboard to adopt a risk screening mentality without delay. The preliminary draft of this screening tool, titled the T-BAR (Time for a Brief Assessment of Risk), offers a conceptual scheme to examine clients’ risk of violence to others and to initiate risk management without delay. This screening tool is not intended to quantify risk per se, but rather to bring awareness to the client’s general propensity to act aggressively toward others and highlight individual and contextual risk factors suitable for intervention. While it has not been subjected to peer evaluation, piloting, or standardization, the T-BAR is hoped to illustrate the concepts outlined in the project, heighten the reader’s awareness of the casual nexus underlying violent behavior, and prompt critical thinking about harm reduction. Ideas for additional work in the field and future research are offered.
x, 150 leaves ; 29 cm
Violence -- Forecasting , Violence -- Risk assessment , Harm reduction , Mental health personnel -- Violence against