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Aggression and Potential Violence

Aggressive behavior occurs in many contexts and varies from verbal abuse to severe physical abuse. In most situations, it’s difficult to predict aggression until the person’s behavior changes. For example, a person could be quiet and reserved, but prone to hostile aggressive outbursts.

Potential Violence: When a person has rigid control of their emotional expressions, an inability to verbally express themself, and an over-controlled response to hostility, be aware of potential violence. A person with no history of violence may have aggressive outbursts that happen only when drinking alcohol and/or using other substances or undergoing substance withdrawal.

Signs of being prone to violence: unstable school/vocational history; a history of juvenile violence and/or substance abuse; history of family violence/abuse; fascination with weapons; a pattern of cruelty to animals as a child or adolescent; inability to control aggressive impulses.

  • When you have noticed aggression in yourself:

    1. Seek assistance. The following resources are available to help you.

    2. Submit a CARE Report.

    Submit a CARE Report

  • When you encounter an aggressive or potentially violent person:

    1. Practice the following advice.


    • Determine if you feel safe. If you don’t, leave the situation and dial 9-1-1. Stay in an open area, preferably with an exit door nearby.
    • Prearrange for Campus Security and Police Information to standby while meeting with the person: (208) 426-6911.
    • Clearly explain which behaviors are acceptable and which are unacceptable.
    • Instruct the person to lower their voice if they are screaming.
    • Stay calm. Gain control of the situation by clearly setting limits and addressing concerns.
    • Tell them to make an appointment after they calm down.
    • Discuss the situation with a colleague, co-worker or supervisor.


    • Remain in a place you don’t feel safe.
    • Engage in a screaming match.
    • Make promises you cannot keep.
    • Ignore warning signs that the person’s anger is escalating.
    • Threaten, dare, taunt or back the person into a corner.
    • Allow yourself to be backed into an area where items could be used as weapons.
    • Touch the person or crowd their personal space.
    • Meet alone with the person.

    2. Refer to the following resources for assistance.

    3. Submit a CARE Report.

    Submit a CARE Report