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Violence Risk Assessment Procedure

This procedure comprises part of Ryerson’s Workplace Violence Prevention Program and is overseen by Community Safety and Security. It provides an overview of the main stages in the violence risk assessment process.

Community Safety and Security’s Risk Management team helps the university identify, assess, and respond to potential risks of violence to students and employees at the university. It typically receives information about risks of potential violence from two channels: 

  • Community Safety and Security incident reports; or
  • Notification from the executive director or one of the directors in Community Safety and Security when they become aware of a situation which may pose a risk of violence.

The Risk Management team reviews the incident reports and situations raised by the executive director/directors for specific criteria pointing to a potential risk of violence to determine if it should perform a violence risk assessment. 

  • If the assessment indicates a violence risk assessment by the Risk Management team is not needed, other areas within Community Safety and Security may continue with activities related to the case. For example, investigations may continue to identify other kinds of threats to the university, and Community Safety and Security may refer the matter to other administrative areas for follow-up.
  • If the assessment does identify specific criteria that points to a risk of violence, the Risk Management Office begins the Triage stage.

The purpose of triage is to confirm the potential for violence based on the initial information available through the security incident report and any other related information. 

The risk assessment specialist measures the information against standardized violence-risk criteria in a matrix of risk factors. Ryerson uses the same standards commonly used by other universities and law enforcement agencies in Canada, including the Ontario Provincial Police. Using these standards, the risk assessment specialist determines whether there is a potential for violence. 

  • If the results from triage indicates the potential for violence is unlikely, there is no further action by the Risk Management team at this time. The case may be referred to other units within Community Safety and Security or other administrative departments within the university for follow-up.  
  • If the results from triage continues to indicate a potential for violence, then the case is referred to Data Collection. 

During this stage, risk assessment specialists gather additional information from Ryerson records or public sources in order to continue to assess the potential for violence. Methods may include interviews with the complainant and other parties as appropriate. As part of this process, risk assessment specialists are mindful of and compliant with the requirements regarding the access and use of personal information. Once initial data is collected, the data collection process continues while the Risk Management Office proceeds to the Analysis stage.

The Risk Management team analyzes the new and additional information to determine the potential risk of violence using the standards employed at the Triage stage as well as structured professional judgement tools and professional expertise. The results from this analysis enable the Risk Management Office to advise both on the likelihood and nature of violence risk.  

Note:  Data collection and analysis are ongoing until the case is closed. 

Based on the analysis of the collected data, the risk management team creates a risk management plan which provides suggestions for affected students and employees about how to manage the violence risk. Typical components of the plan may include:

  • safety planning; 
  • use of Community Safety and Security services including WalkSafe and self defense programs; 
  • collaboration with other administrative units to determine if sanctions or other limits on students and employee participation in university activities is warranted; 
  • referral to university resources to support students and employees with wellness; and 
  • referral to external resources including law enforcement and social services as appropriate.

The plan may be updated at anytime based on ongoing analysis and data collection.

The risk management team communicates the plan to impacted students, employees, and decision-makers such as:

  • supervisors or leaders who have responsibility for the affected individuals 
  • HR
  • the Office of the Vice-Provost Students 

Depending on the nature of the threat, the risk management team may advise external law enforcement agencies.  In doing so, the team complies with privacy requirements. 

At any time during the preceding stages the risk management team may communicate with impacted parties for the purposes of ensuring community safety. 

After the risk management team communicates the initial plan, it may continue to communicate with affected individuals if new information becomes available that changes the recommendations and plan, including information that removes the immediate threat of violence.