White Paper

These 5 Actions Minimize Professional Liability Risk for Behavioral Health Workers in the Fight Against School Violence

Here are five critical risk management steps psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and social workers should take now to mitigate liability exposure.

White Paper Summary

In the first half of 2018 alone, school shootings averaged about one per weekin the U.S. According to statistics compiled by the CDC in 2015, nearly 8 percent of students had been in a physical fight on school property within the previous year, and 21 percent reported being bullied. Six percent said they skipped at least one school day because they did not feel safe.

Schools are increasingly battling violence, and when injured parties seek to hold someone accountable, behavioral health specialists often find themselves on the front lines.

“If a behavioral health provider was treating a youth who commits an act of violence, any affected party could file a lawsuit claiming they did not take the proper steps to spot and mitigate the risk,” said Kristen Lambert, Esq., MSW, LICSW, FASHRM, Vice President Risk Management for Allied World.

“In addition to litigation, providers like psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors could face disciplinary action from their respective boards of registration, including license restriction or revocation.”

While behavioral health providers do play an important role in identifying and mitigating the potential for violence, they can’t prevent every incident. In order to provide the best care or guidance while also protecting themselves from liability, behavioral health specialists should follow these five steps:


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Allied World is a global provider of innovative property, casualty and specialty insurance and reinsurance solutions.

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