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The purpose of the SAVRY (Borum et al., 2003) is to assess risk factors to aid in prevention and risk reduction. The SAVRY consists of four sections (Historical Risk Factors, Social/Contextual Risk Factors, Individual Risk Factors, and Protective Factors). Each section lists specific factors the assessor should consider in making a general assessment for the risk of potential violence. Information to code the items should be obtained from multiple sources, including youth self-report, parental/caregiver reports, teacher reports, social worker reports, police reports, previous psychological and/or psychiatric evaluations, school records, juvenile justice records, and mental health and/or medical records (Borum et al., 2003). The credibility of the informant should be carefully considered, and with more weight being placed on the most credible' sources (Borum et al.). Cross-checking information is important for verification (Cormier, 1994).
Historical risk factors. Historical items are based on past experiences and behavior. They are generally static, and they have been shown to be associated with violence risk in adolescence. The historical items included in the SAVRY are (a) history of violence, (b) history of nonviolent offending, (c) early initiation of violence, (d) past supervision/intervention failures, (e) history of self-harm or suicide attempts, (f) exposure to violence in the home, (g) childhood history of maltreatment, (h) parental/ caregiver criminality, (i) early caregiver disruption, and (j) poor school achievement.
Social/contextual risk factors. The influences of peer and family relationships, connection to social institutions, and environment are important to consider in adolescent risk assessment. The social/contextual risk factors in the SAVRY are (a) peer delinquency, (b) peer rejection, (c) stress and poor coping, (d) poor parental management, (e) lack of personal/social support, and (f) community disorganization. Similar to the historical risk factors, the social/contextual risk factors are coded as low, moderate, or high. Descriptors of each also are included in the manual.
Individual risk factors. Youth attitudes and psychological and behavioral functioning also are included in the SAVRY. Individual risk factors include (a) negative attitudes, (b) risk taking/impulsivity, (c) substance use difficulties, (d) anger management problems, (e) low empathy/remorse, (f) attention deficit/hyperactivity difficulties, (g) poor compliance, and (h) low interest/commitment to school. Each of the above individual risk factors is coded as low, moderate, or high with applicable descriptors found within the manual.
Protective factors. Risk factors increase the likelihood of violence, while protective factors may reduce the overall potential for violence. Protective factors include (a) prosocial involvement, (b) strong social support, (c) strong attachments and bonds, (d) positive attitude toward intervention and authority, (e) strong commitment to school, and (f) resilient personality traits. Protective factors are simply rated as present or absent.
Targeted Violence Risk Assessment
As noted by previous researchers (Stevens et al., 2001; Vossekuil et al., 2000), incidents of school violence usually are planned. Such planning includes what Borum and Reddy (2001) called attack-related behaviors. [Attack-related behaviors] may include developing an idea and plan to engage in a violent act toward a target; acquiring the means or capacity for the violent act (such as a weapon or other means of inflicting harm); selecting a target or targets; and determining the time, place, and manner in which to approach or otherwise gain access to the target (such as discovering the target's [schedule of activities]). These behaviors indicate planning and preparation for an attack. They are significant markers of the client's movement on the pathway from idea to action. (p. 380)
Reflection Exercise #5
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