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Resources :: Guide :: Vulnerable and risk sensitive participants :: Risk-sensitive populations :: Specific threat

Specific and Immediate Threat to Cause Bodily Injury or Death to a Third Party

During your interaction with a participant, you may learn of a specific and immediate threat to hurt or kill someone.  A threat can vary in degrees of serious intent.  A participant may casually complain about someone and threaten physical harm without the serious intent of hurting anyone.  The Code of Virginia states that if a mental health care provider “reasonably believes, or should believe according to the standards of his profession, that the client has the intent and ability to carry out that threat immediately or imminently” then the mental health care provider should act.

This section discusses the general responsibilities of researchers and mental health care providers.  If you are conducting your study in a public school or among students, please see Education: Abuse for more information about the legal responsibilities and protocol for reporting threats and illegal behaviors.

Section Topics

Reporting Responsibilities
How Do I Report a Threat?

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