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Threat Assessment

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Origin

Threat Assessment Team (TAT) provides consultation and support to the College community when a threat to the community has been reported. In cases of severe or extreme risk, the TAT provides guidance, recommends interventions, and facilitates communication and coordination throughout the review and intervention process.

The NOVA Threat Assessment Process started in 2009, immediately following the passage of Virginia Criminal Code Section 23-9.2:10 that mandated all colleges and universities to establish and operate campus violence prevention committees and threat assessment teams. The statute calls for a threat assessment team that includes members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel.

The Administrative Council of NOVA sought planning for such a response at NOVA. As a result, Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation (CARE) teams, and the Threat Assessment Team were formed. On September 9, 2011, the process was officially approved by the NOVA Administrative Council. In order to implement the requirements of the law, NOVA created the NOVACares Office in 2012 to oversee the entire threat assessment process. On November 21, 2016, NOVA’s Administrative Council approved the policy.

In Fall 2020, the NOVACares Office updated its name to The Office of Wellness and Mental Health to better communicate their purpose and role at the college.  

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Threat Assessment Process 2014

(Revised, 2017)

The genesis of the NOVA Threat Assessment Process occurred immediately following the passage in 2009 of Virginia Criminal Code Section 23-9.2:10 that mandated all colleges and universities to establish and operate campus violence prevention committees and threat assessment teams. The statute specifically calls for a threat assessment team that includes members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel.

College Threat Assessment Team Purpose Statement:

The purpose of NOVA's Threat Assessment Team is to assess potentially threatening behaviors, including communications, and provide steps to mitigate risk when an individual may pose a threat to self or others within the NOVA community.

A secure database, maintained by the College, is utilized to track and document all threat cases, as well as other cases that are brought to the attention of The Office of Wellness and Mental Health and The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities that are not deemed as threats but as disruptions to the teaching and learning process.

CARE teams are operating on each of our six campuses and NOVA Online (NOL) and serve the additional centers and sites that are located near and associated with those campuses. CARE teams have the authority to intervene in low-level student risk behavior intervention cases. These cases are usually those in which members of the NOVA community need assistance in order to perform at their normal functioning level. At a minimum, teams meet on a monthly basis.

Care Team Purpose Statement:

The purpose of NOVA CARE Teams is to provide a systematic and professional collective response in instances where students’ behavior is concerning or disruptive to themselves, to others, or the community.

For disruptive behavior cases, The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and Human Resources Employee Relations Specialists manage cases as they are received.  As warranted, the College may take appropriate disciplinary actions for violations of the Code of Conduct.

For cases that rise to the moderate or severe threat level, the College Threat Assessment Team has the authority to address cases at the College. The members of this team meet monthly and as needed to review current cases, continue their training in the field of threat assessment, and to resolve issues as they arise. Decision-making in specific cases that are reviewed and assessed by this team involves using the team members’ professional observations and judgments and the following tools and resources:

  • Risk Assessment Guideline Elements for Violence (RAGE-V) (2006 The Association of Threat Assessment Professionals)
  • Structured Professional Judgment (2011 Hart, S. & Logan, C.)
  • NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool (2019 NCHERM Group, LLC)
  • WAVR-21

This team is trained to respond quickly and efficiently to any and all incidents that pose a major risk to the NOVA community. This team uses added regional resources in the area of law enforcement and mental health on an as-needed basis.

All of the teams involved in the NOVA Threat Assessment Process embody the principles of collaboration, coordination, and alignment of principles, to include:

LAW – POLICY – PROCEDURE – PRACTICE

We strive to be FAIR, OBJECTIVE, REASONABLE, and TIMELY.

In accordance with the NOVA Administrative Council, the NOVA Threat Assessment Team works collaboratively with these other committees established to enhance the safety and security of all who attend and work at NOVA:

  • Violence Prevention Committee
  • College Emergency Planning Committee

All documents related to the entire Threat Assessment Process are stored in a secure database and are available only to team members. Anyone can submit a report of concerning behavior via the NOVA website. Each report is carefully screened by the trained case managers and then assigned to the most appropriate college authority for further investigation and response. NOVA does not provide mental health services (per the policy of the Virginia Community College System), but we do provide faculty, staff, and students with resources and referrals.

All records are kept for a minimum period of seven years to comply with all Federal and VCCS requirements.
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