Recognizing Behavior

Preventing Violence at GMU

Campus Assessment and Intervention Team, CAIT

Recognizing Threatening Behavior

There are many behaviors and circumstances that may indicate concerns that an individual is developing an increased risk for violence or significant disruption. The significance of any one behavior or circumstance is often difficult to determine. Therefore, the threat assessment process is designed to review the situation in context of all of the facts that can be known.

Listed below are examples of behaviors and circumstances that may indicate an emerging concern and that an individual is in need of assistance. These examples are meant to help you identify potential concerns during you daily interactions with others. However, these examples are NOT all-inclusive, and they are NOT intended to be used as a checklist.

If you are aware of a situation where some of the concerns listed below are present, please share what you know with the univeristy police. Stop in at the Police Department and ask to speak with an officer, Police officers are available 24/7.

The following are behaviors exhibited by subjects who may escalate to disruptive or violent actions:

  • Makes threats to harm or kill self or others.
  • Makes attempts to harm or kill self or others.
  • Possesses a weapon.
  • Has a known history of violence or conflict.
  • Makes statements indicating approval of using violence to resolve a problem.
  • Identifies with or idolizes persons who have engaged in violence toward others.
  • Engages in unexplained increases of absenteeism.
  • Displays decreased performance in work or academics.
  • Has numerous reports of others concerned about subject’s behavior.
  • Experiences extreme or sudden changes in mood and behavior.
  • Shows an indication of problematic alcohol or substance use (marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, prescription medication, etc.)
  • Has extreme reactions to any losses, such as academic status, job, or a relationship.
  • Experiences negative reactions to health problems, especially head injuries.
  • High perceived levels of stress
  • Is currently involved in a situation where there is a toleration of aggressive or hostile interactions.
  • Shows a resistance to change or a reluctance to abide by reasonable limits.
  • Displays an over-reaction to changes in policies/procedures.
  • Has numerous conflicts with others
  • Alienates others or isolates self from others
  • Has chronic unresolved conflict.
  • Exerts extreme jealousy and attempts to control in relationships
  • Engages in stalking,bullying, or harassing behaviors
  • Experiences difficulty learning from past behaviors or experiences.
  • Tends to engage in blaming behaviors and not take responsibility for their own actions.
  • Displays paranoia or distrust that is disproportionate to the situation
  • Makes irrational accusations towards others
  • Tends to constantly feel like life is unfair and carry grudges
  • Has negative reactions to situations where there is pecking order/cliques
  • Experiences perceived rejection or injustice
  • Is ostracized by others

Note that subject’s reaction to any situation may be real, perceived, or anticipated by the subject of concern. The subject does not need to exhibit all of the behaviors above to be a concern. If you have any concerns that an individual is displaying any of the behaviors above OR any behaviors of concern that are not mentioned, please contact (703)993-2810