You have done all your homework, completed your background checks, and have decided it is now important to interview in depth some of the witnesses as part of your assessment. What questions do you ask…and perhaps more importantly, how can you be sure the answers are germane in really determining the risk potential of violence?
There are numerous studies that have been done in this area and many more are being conducted. A lot of research by very intelligent and methodical professional clinicians has established numerous issues that should be covered to obtain a good risk assessment. Yet when you read many of these studies, you come away thinking that while it sounds good how is it actually put into practice? In other words – specifically, what questions should you ask? How to you minimize deception? How can you avoid slanted answers as most people usually want to appear normal and nice? And of course, how can you avoid someone slanting an answer to either purposely or inadvertently make the person you are asking about seem either better than they are…or worse!
This questionnaire consists of 78 questions…and each one is based upon not only the authors 40 plus years of experience in doing violence risk potential assessments, but the current clinical data researched on the topic. As any good interviewer will tell you, there is no 100% guarantee that you are always going to get a straight or honest answer, so these questions have been designed so that the person answering the questions must explain his or her answers – including often giving examples. This gives the interviewer a lot more information to determine if the answers are true or if the person being interviewed is attempting to deceive the interviewer.
Starting with the premise that everyone wants to present their best possible “face” when being interviewed, and that witnesses often have “agendas” or are uncomfortable with answering some questions, this questionnaire starts with the kind of questions most people would think you would ask so that as you progress into more revealing questions, there is a stronger likelihood the witness will answer. It’s the positive response principle – once feeling comfortable answering those questions we expect to be asked, we are more likely to answer questions we were not expecting. It has been carefully framed so that the questions appear somewhat random, or at least do not follow a definitive pattern so that the witness does not get a chance to develop a rhythm or pattern to better aid in their attempts at dishonesty.
While this questionnaire certainly stands alone, it is a powerful tool when put together with several of the other forms offered by The Workthreat Group. For example, starting with the TAC form and then adding the Subject Interview form would provide the person responsible for conducting the assessment a fairly complete picture of the actual risk potential of violence of an individual. Take a look at these other forms and as always, we welcome questions and suggestions about any of our products.
Click here for a sample download of the form.
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 14 September, 2011.