The WAVR-21 and the eWAVR exemplify the growing trend in risk assessment technology toward the use of “structured professional judgment” guides (SPJs). In this organized but non-quantitative format, responders refer to a list of factors, each of which has some form of coding criteria with a demonstrated relationship to violence. Such guidelines improve the consistency and transparency of assessment decision-making. SPJs are also generally prescriptive: they identify interventions and actions to manage and reduce a subject’s identified violence risk.
By incorporating scientific findings in its definition of violence risk factors, the WAVR-21 attempts to bridge the gap between research and the practical case management needs of workplace and campus-based practitioners. An extensive literature search and resulting reference list underpins the WAVR-21, translating into a rational and defensible approach to assessing and responding to workplace threat scenarios. Clinical judgment is still a necessity, and always will be, in reaching opinions of risk and appropriate responses.
Workplace targeted or intended violence came to notoriety in the 1980’s. “Warning signs” and the risk factors are widely understood and texts available on threat management. Yet the field lacked a detailed and comprehensive assessment tool that reflects the nature and challenges of managing cases in workplace and campus contexts. The WAVR-21 is increasingly recognized as one of the most credible and useful evidence-based tools for assessing risk in organizational settings.