The Violence Prevention Formula – Part 2: Anonymous Reporting

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We previously discussed how to identify behaviors of concern that may lead to violence or self harm, but what action should someone take if they do indeed see a radical behavioral change in a colleague, employee or classmate? What’s the next step?

Organizations and schools of all sizes need a comprehensive violence prevention program. We have created a 9-step formula to mitigate violence that can be accessed via Training people on behaviors of concern is the first step. The next step is providing employees, students, staff and others an anonymous reporting system by which they can report something they’ve seen. Behaviors of concern can be very mild; something that an employee or student normally would not report, therefore, we must make it easy for people to report these behaviors.

The best-practices violence prevention formula is comprised of nine elements; nine elements that every school and business must have in place. None of the elements are optional, and all must be integrated together to establish an actionable violence prevention program. Often we work with organizations that say, ‘we have some of those elements in place. Something is not enough. A successful violence prevention program hinges on implementing the entire formula below.

AT + AR + MM + CW + AoD + RM + SBAT + MS + VR

AT: Awareness Training

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AR: Anonymous Reporting

MM: Media Monitoring

CW: Centralized Information Warehouse

AoD: Administrator on Duty

RM: Risk Categorization Matrix

SBAT: School Behavioral Assessment Team

MS: Management System

VR: Violence Response

The second element of our Violence Prevention Formula is Anonymous Reporting.

With disturbing regularity, we discover after the fact that someone always knew prior to the violent event. The problem is that without an anonymous reporting tool, people are hesitant to get involved.

“When an employee comes to work with a black eye and confides in her coworkers that she was in a fight with her spouse the night before, most people want to stay out of the situation. The problem with that is many times workplace violence incidents are a result of domestic violence spilling into the workplace. A leading cause of death for women in the workplace is workplace violence by a spouse or boyfriend. Incidents of domestic violence must be reported immediately. Your employees must have a means of anonymous reporting.” – Firestorm Founder and Novume President, Harry Rhulen

Government or law enforcement-based tools are good, but are only used to report imminent threats. There needs to be a reporting process (text, email and voice) to directly alert employers, or school officials, of behaviors of concern long before an imminent attack is finalized, so they can be responded to accordingly. It is essential that all behaviors of concern be reported as soon as identified, so that proper intervention can take place.Harry Rhulen President Novume and Firestorm Founder

When discussing anonymous reporting tools, Firestorm is provider agnostic. We work with individual organizations to choose a design and platform that works with their specific needs. If your organization is struggling to identify the best-suited platform, we’re happy to help with the decision-making process. We do understand, however, that not all facilities can invest in technology tools. You do not need to. We work with many summer camps that do not have technology, phones or computers. Their anonymous reporting tools are suggestion boxes.

“A suggestion box is great for an organization with limited funds or access to technology. The most private location to place a suggestion box is in the bathroom. In most organizations, the bathroom is the most private place.”- Harry Rhulen

Most serious issues faced by schools and businesses are preceded by significant warning signs. Whether talking about active shooter and weapons, sexual misconduct or other behavioral issues, there are real opportunities for leaders to intercede before an individual feels the need to bring a gun onto the property or physically abuse another. Having in place best practice level programs will ensure that violence can be stopped before it begins.

Please help us #ShareTheFormula by downloading the formula, fact sheets and spreading the word. Share on social media and use the hashtag #ShareTheFormula. Take the formula to your child’s school, or your organization and simply ask, “What are we doing if we’re not doing this? Tell me why what we’re doing is better.” If those in charge of safety cannot explain how they’re addressing every one of the elements that is on in our formula, you need to keep pushing them because they have a hole in the net. Something is not enough.

Download #ShareTheFormula infographic for Parents/Adults

Download #ShareTheFormula infographic for HS/College Students

Download #ShareTheFormula infographic for K-8 Students

*This article is part two of a nine-part series. Opt in to our Disaster Due Diligence Newsletter to be notified when parts 3-9 are published.


Sitting on the fence of violence – How to prevent your next tragedy

The Violence Prevention Formula – Part 1: Awareness Training

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