All members of our community are an essential part of our Behavioral Assessment Teams mission and should share incidents, observations, or communications that create concern about potential violence. The Behavioral Assessment Teams do not provide emergency response services. If violent behavior occurs or appears imminent, the Duke community is directed to contact 911.
Duke University and Duke University Hospital System are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all faculty, staff, students, hospital system employees, patients, and visitors. Duke’s Behavioral Assessment Teams missions are to identify, assess, manage, intervene, and mitigate acts or threats of violence by or against faculty, staff, students, employees, patients, and visitors or other non-affiliated individuals. Violent or threatening behavior encompasses a range of activities occurring on or off University or Duke University Health System properties and generates reasonable concern for personal or community safety. The Behavioral Assessment Teams utilize a proactive, multidisciplinary, coordinated and objective approach to assessment of potentially threatening situations and the implementation of recommendations.
All information gathered during the process of assessment is conducted in accordance with standing Federal Law, State Law and Duke Policy regarding the privacy of information and access to information. Special consideration will be given to HIPAA and FERPA.
The Behavioral Assessment Teams believes that early recognition, intervention, and referral are critical to getting someone help and preventing violence before it occurs. All members of our community are an essential part of our Behavioral Assessment Teams mission and should share incidents, observations, or communications that create concern about potential violence. The Behavioral Assessment Teams do not provide emergency response services. If violent behavior occurs or appears imminent, the Duke community is directed to contact 911.
Threat assessment and management is not profiling or prediction. The Behavioral Assessment Teams do not presume that individuals referred to its process will act violently; have engaged in or will engage in criminal wrongdoing; or violated student, employee, faculty, medical center, or patient standards of conduct. The Behavioral Assessment Teams do not serve as a disciplinary body; however, referrals are made to the appropriate University or law enforcement authorities regarding violent or threatening behavior.
The Behavioral Assessment Teams engage in a dynamic process that attempts to understand a person’s motivation and capability regarding violence; increase protective factors against violence; anticipate and minimize triggering events; and protect and support potential targets. Members of the teams treat all people with dignity and respect and believe this is fundamental to the University’s violence prevention efforts.
The multidisciplinary behavioral assessment approach is intended to reduce silos within the Duke community and provide a centralized location for information pertaining to violence risk. Duke’s three Behavioral Assessment Teams include:
- Student Behavioral Assessment Team
- Employee Behavioral Assessment Team
- Patient Behavioral Assessment Team
Concerning behavior – while it is not possible to define all behaviors that might instill fear or create concern that an individual might act out violently, consider these a full range of behaviors falling along a spectrum that, due to their nature or severity, affect or potentially affect the campus, health system, or the workplace, generate a concern for personal safety, or result in physical injury.
Examples of concerning behaviors include but not limited to:
- Acts of violence such as assaults and physical attacks, such as hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving, biting, fighting or throwing objects or use of an unauthorized weapon against another person;
- Threats: an expression of intent to cause physical or emotional harm to another person or damage the property of another. A threat may be direct, indirect, conditional or veiled and without regard to whether the party communicating the threat has the ability to carry it out in the present or future;
- Harassment; verbal abuse;
- Overt Physical Intimidation or Aggression: actions that frighten, coerce, or induce duress; actions may also include property damage;
- Stalking or Unwanted Contact: obsessive and persistent intrusion upon another person(s) or persistent unwanted pursuit (often romantic);
- Mental health concerns, such as homicidal or suicidal thoughts;
- Bringing or threatening to bring a weapon to campus or health system property;
- Sabotage or internal destruction / damage to personal property;
- Erratic, impulsive or bizarre behavior that has generated fear in others;
- Preoccupation with violent themes.
Note: Many concerning behaviors will also have criminal violations as a component of the incident. Any criminal behavior should also be documented and responded to according to policy for those incidents in addition to the concerning behavior component.
- If patient/visitor displaying violent, aggressive or assaultive behavior (immediate response required): Call 911 or 919-684-2444
- If concern for future violence (event possible in coming days or weeks): Call Clinical Risk Management
Follman, M. (2022) Trigger Points. New York N.Y.
Behavioral Analysis Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2017). Making Prevention a Reality: Identifying, Assessing, and Managing the Threat of Targeted Attacks. Washington, D.C.
Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (2006). Risk Assessment Guideline Elements for Violence. California: Author.
ASIS International, & Society for Human Resources Management. (2011). Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention: American National Standard. Arlington, VA.