Traversing the space between threats and violence: A review of threat assessment guidelines

Mitchell, Melanie & Palk, Gavan (2016) Traversing the space between threats and violence: A review of threat assessment guidelines. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. (In Press)

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While the majority of violent threats – defined as an expression of intent to do harm or act out violently against someone or something – do not progress to actual violence, a small proportion of threateners do go on to enact violence. Most researchers argue that violence risk assessments are inadequate for assessing threats of violence, which raises the question: how should a threat assessment (TA) be conducted? To begin to understand available frameworks for assessing threats, a systematic review of TA research literature was conducted. Most TA literature pertains to a specific domain (schools, public figure threats, workplaces) and target audience (clinicians, school personnel, law enforcement). TA guidelines are typically based on literature reviews with some based on empirical measures and others having no strong evidential basis. The most common concepts in TA are exploration of the threatener's mental health, the motivation for the threat and the presence of any plans. Rather than advocating for the development of a protocol for conducting TA, this article outlines the common areas of inquiry in assessing threats and highlights the limitations of current TA guidelines.

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ID Code: 95345
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published online: 01 May 2016
Keywords: risk assessment, targeted violence, threat assessment, threats, violence
DOI: 10.1080/13218719.2016.1164638
ISSN: 1321-8719
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Forensic Psychology (170104)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Copyright Statement: The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 01 May 2016,
Deposited On: 05 May 2016 00:10
Last Modified: 08 May 2016 05:31

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