The Peril of Parallel Investigations in Workplace Violence Threat Assessment: How to Identify and Mitigate Potential Problems

Dr Stephen Hart3
1Protect International Risk And Safety Services Inc, Vancouver, Canada, 2Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada, 3University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Whenever a workplace violence threat assessment is conducted, it is possible – and even likely – that other investigations are being considered or already underway. Depending on the nature of the workplace and the incidents that triggered the threat assessment, parallel investigations may include such things as fitness for duty or return to work investigations; workplace climate, disciplinary, bullying, harassment, sexual misconduct, and human rights investigations; and even police or national security investigations. Improperly conducted workplace violence threat assessments can inadvertently impede or render invalid parallel investigations; in the worst-case scenario, they can obstruct justice by interfering with active police investigation of a criminal offence. In this presentation, Dr. Hart will discuss the parallel investigations most commonly encountered in the course of workplace violence threat assessments. He will then outline the steps organizations and threat assessment professionals can take to identify and mitigate any actual or potential adverse consequences stemming from parallel investigations. He will illustrate his major points through the use of case examples and presentation of a case study.


Dr. Stephen D. Hart obtained his PhD in psychology at the University of British Columbia. He joined the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University in 1990 and was also appointed a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Bergen, Norway, in 2000. Outside academia, he is a Director and Threat Assessment Specialist at Protect International Risk and Safety Services Inc. He is the Founding Editor of the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management and a recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.

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