Training & Threat Programs

WTS Threat Management Program and Training Development

WTS provides organizational violence prevention and threat management program development and training. Services are tailored according to the client’s needs, structure, and level of experience.

Program Assessment and Development

WTS works with internal program managers to assess and develop clients’ violence prevention program and protocol. Consultation involves the following elements:

  • Overview of client culture and nature of business, relevant to violence prevention issues
  • History of incidents, cases, and identified case management obstacles (e.g., silo effect, reactive vs. proactive stance, manifestations of denial/lack of knowledge); what works and what does not
  • Necessary supportive elements: relevant policies, top management support, links to expert resources
  • Review of incident/threat management team composition, level of experience, expertise, and needs (HR, legal, security, campus judicial officers, additional resources)
  • Case notification and response protocols
  • Training needs (team, managers and supervisors, employees)

Training Modules and Options

WTS offers varying levels of initial and ongoing training, in formats blending didactic material, case examples, and vignette practice.

Interaction and discussion are encouraged to enhance individual and team effectiveness.

Introduction for Stakeholders to Workplace Violence Prevention

A two to three-hour session for stakeholders in HR, security, legal, campus judicial affairs, and other organizational threat management representatives. Topics include:

  • Understanding workplace “grudge”/targeted violence
  • Risk factors, warning signs, and triggering contexts
  • Typical scenarios: paranoia and psychosis, rejected avenger, intimate partners of employees, stalking, bullying, outsiders
  • Introductions to a screening tool: the WAVR-21 V3
  • Organizational barriers and counterproductive responses
  • Elements of effective program and protocol
  • Reporting and communication
  • Role of supervisors
  • Team membership and responsibilities
  • Role of outside specialists
  • Brief case vignette practice

Threat Management Training for Core Team & Adjuncts

This one-day training is an option frequently selected by our clients. The content may be modified and tailored to address the organization’s particular needs and the team’s level of experience and expertise. A fuller description of the content is available upon request.

  • Introduction:
    • Basic facts about workplace violence – big picture trends, statistics, range of problem behaviors
    • Consultant and attendees may exchange brief personal case experiences that help illustrate major issues, assessment questions, and intervention dilemmas and options
  • Overview of Successful Prevention Program Elements
    • Obstacles: silo effect, denial, passivity and enabling, reactive vs. proactive responding
    • Policy, top-down support, incident management team, reporting and response protocol, supervisor training, employee awareness
    • Overview of team member areas of responsibility
  • Understanding Workplace Violence
    • Nature of workplace “targeted” violence
      • motives and pathway to violence
        • affective (“short fuse”) vs. predatory (“cold-blooded”) violence
      • risk factors for violence
        • individual, static vs. dynamic, situational, organizational
        • threats and their meaning vs. intent
      • protective factors suppressing violence
      • perpetrator/threatener categories
        • disgruntled current or former employee, psychotic/paranoid, domestic/intimate partner, stalking, workplace romantic triangles, vexatious litigants, threats to “celebrity” CEO/executives, extremist beliefs, bullying
      • video case examples and attendee exercise to identify risk and protective factors
  • Screening, Assessment, Case Management
    • Early reporting, intake queries, conferring and screening
    • Data sources
    • Using the WAVR-21 V3 – structured screening and assessment tools
    • Initial and ongoing assessment queries
    • General intervention do’s and don’ts
    • Intervention options and issues
    • Balancing urgency to respond vs. time to develop more data
    • Interviewing pointers (witnesses, victims/targets, subjects of investigation)
    • Domains of responsibility: risk management/security, HR, legal, line managers
    • Who should assess what?
    • Role of professional assessment and case management professionals
      • indirect vs. direct assessment
        • informed consent, assess vs. defuse, communication issues
    • Operational implications of risk/concern levels: low, moderate, high, imminent
  • Case Vignette Exercises
    • Interactive case examples to promote attendees’ skills in identifying issues, use of the WAVR-21 screening tools, and to enhance multi-disciplinary intervention decision making
      • small groups each work a vignette which are then debriefed with presenter in larger group
  • Wrap-up and Next Steps
    • Training-stimulated discussion about possible program and protocol enhancements

Supervisor Training In Workplace Violence Prevention

A one to two-hour session on essentials for line managers and supervisors – what to look for, do’s and don’ts, and how to work with your team – delivered by our consultant co-presenting with the team representative(s).  Content includes:

  • Explanation for managers of workplace “grudge”/targeted violence
  • Warning signs and triggering contexts
  • Counterproductive responses
  • Company policy and managers’ responsibilities
  • Basics of case response protocol, thresholds for reporting, preparing for and conducting difficult meetings
  • Dealing with everyday aggression and challenging employees
  • Case examples and brief vignette “issue spotting”

Advanced Threat Assessment Training with the WAVR-21 V3

Drs. Stephen White and Reid Meloy conduct a comprehensive two-day training on workplace threat assessment, centered on the WAVR-21 V3, a structured professional assessment guide they co-developed and first published in 2007.  Now in its third edition, the WAVR includes 21 empirically based criteria for assessing different forms of workplace and campus violence risk.  The WAVR is also available in the form of an accessible and secure browser application. To learn more about The WAVR-21 Threat Assessment App, click here to visit the developer’s website. This training is intended for core threat team members seeking in-depth training and discussion.  It may be provided to individual organizations and is also periodically offered publicly through WTS or Specialized Training Services.

Curriculum includes:

  • Detailed presentation and discussion of the 21 factors of the WAVR  “Grid”
  • Case analysis of high profile workplace homicides
  • Analysis and discussion of video interviews with perpetrators and subjects of concern
  • Case vignette exercises involving commonly encountered situations to enhance attendees’ skills in screening, assessing, and responding to workplace and campus threat scenarios
  • Interview strategies, working with victims and targeted employees, the role of assessment professionals, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and “best practices” in organizational violence prevention

Risk topics include:

  • Stalking
  • Mental illness and violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Adolescent vs. adult mass murder
  • Bullying and intimidation
  • Psychopathic, narcissistic, and anti-social individuals
  • The contemporary issue of the nexus of extreme ideology, psychopathology, and violence risk.

Attendees will learn to recognize the “pathway to violence”, originally articulated by professionals in the US Secret Service and US Marshals Office, and a core concept in understanding targeted/intended violence.

The University of California Office of the President selected Drs. White and Meloy to provide WAVR training on a system-wide basis to all ten University of California campuses in 2011.  They have also provided this training to the Netherlands National Police, among other organizations.

Two studies have demonstrated good to excellent inter-rater agreement for the WAVR-21, summary ratings of risk level and potential for serious injury.  Additional information about the WAVR-21, including its electronic version, is available at

Training on Special Risk Topics

WTS offers workshops addressing issues of special interest in workplace and campus threat assessment, case management, and misconduct.

Case Study Debriefings and Webinars

Review and debriefing of client’s presented cases improves team members’ real time learning, protocol enhancement, and how professionals augment team effectiveness and decision making.  These may be conducted by telephone or web session, including in an ongoing seminar format.