WHAT IS THE PROBLEM
Each year, there are approximately 500,000 acts of gun-related violence including crime, suicide and accidental shooting. SHP believes all gun violence is preventable and that until we focus on identifying, intervening and helping individuals who display at-risk behaviors (versus a gun-only focus), we will likely not decrease the number of acts nationally.
So how do we prevent it? Research supports that nearly all violent / suicidal individuals made threats and/or gave off signs and signals before they hurt themselves or others. The threats, signs and signals can take place over years or days. If we identify and intervene – we can prevent gun-related violence. The problem is how do we know what is a threat or “sign and signal” that possibly poses an imminent or longer-term danger? How do we evaluate these threats, signs and signals? What do we do with them once they are seen, heard or read?
SHP believes schools and community-based organizations should be trained to identify and assess individual threats, signs and signals.
WHAT IS THE PROGRAM
Threat Assessment & Intervention is a national evidenced-based* violence prevention training program researched and developed by Dewey G. Cornell, Ph.D., a forensic clinical psychologist and Professor of Education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. This program exists in over 1,000 schools and organizations in the U.S. SHP has partnered with Dr. Cornell to provide and train schools and community-based organizations on Threat Assessment & Intervention nationwide.
Threat Assessment & Intervention involves (a) identifying threats, signs and signals to commit a violent act, (b) determining the seriousness of the threat, sign or signal, and (c) developing intervention plans that protect potential victims that address the underlying problem or conflict that initiated the behavior. It is designed for schools and community-based organizations.
This program helps create safer, healthier homes, schools and communities by accessing help for individuals who may pose an imminent/longer term threat to themselves or others. While gun violence (gun-related crime and suicide) is SHP’s focus, this program helps identify and prevent alcohol and drug use, physical abuse, dropping out of school, criminal activity to name a few.
WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE
Schools (K-12 educators, administration, mental wellness/counseling support who interact with children and youth) and community-based organizations (leaders who interact with children and youth).
WHO WILL BENEFIT
At-risk children and youth will benefit most. School and community-based learning environments will improve with the added layer of safety.
Additional published research findings from tests and studies:
- Reported violence reduction
- School staff reported decreased anxiety and increased knowledge in responding to threats
- Students reported fewer threats carried out
- Reductions of 50% in long-term suspensions
- Reductions in bullying infractions
- Increased use of school counseling
- Increased parent involvement
- Students reported greater willingness to seek help for threats of violence
- Students reported a more positive views of school personnel
TRAINING CORE LEARNING
Threat Assessment & Intervention offers a problem-solving, structured approach to evaluate the viability of incoming threats and equips teams to intervene based on the degree of the threat, sign or signal level (defined as any form of expressed communication whether through verbal, written, or gesture of the intent to harm self or others).
Each school establishes a multidisciplinary team based on its existing staff of school administrators, mental health, and law enforcement professionals (schools may adapt team composition to fit their staffing). Training:
- Follows a 5-step decision tree and triage approach, so that most threats are resolved quickly with only a few team members; only the most serious threats require full team involvement and/or law enforcement
- Completed in a one-day workshop
Threat Assessment & Intervention provides all steps, forms, etc to train and implement. It has been peer-reviewed and refined based on hundreds of hours of training and implementation.
HOW TO GET STARTED AND COST
Sandy Hook Promise will work with individuals, schools and community-based organizations to offset up to 100% of the training cost in order to reach and impact as many lives as possible.
* Sandy Hook Promise offers Threat Assessment & Intervention in partnership with Dewey G. Cornell, Ph.D., a forensic clinical psychologist and Professor of Education in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Dr. Cornell is Director of the UVA Youth Violence Project, a Program Director for Youth-Nex, the UVA Center for Effective Youth Development, and a faculty associate of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy. Dr. Cornell has studied youth violence for over 25 years and has assisted thousands of schools in the development of violence prevention programs. He has authored more than 200 publications in psychology and education, including: Guidelines for Responding to Student Threats of Violence and School Violence: Fears versus Facts.
¹Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines: SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidenced-Based Programs and Practices.