Risk Assessment, Mitigation & Prevention

Applied Community Studies
Social Work
Course Code
SOWK 4133
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course provides an overview of the context and application of risk assessment in the planning and delivery of social work services. Students will develop the knowledge and skills required to assess when and how to complete a risk assessment, prioritize the risks identified, and put in place a plan to reduce potential harm from emotional, sexual and physical abuse.
Course Content

Course content will be guided by research, empirical knowledge and best practice. The following values and principles, consistent with professional standards, inform course content.

  1. Legislation and guidance underpinning risk assessment and decision making. 
  2. Risk Assessment and case planning by Social Workers requires:
  • A critical self-evaluation of personal values and beliefs when working with risk;
  • An awareness of professional role and responsibilities when working with risk;
  • An understanding and knowledge of the application of various tools and approaches used to assess and manage risk;
  • Knowledge and application of relevant theories (e.g. complexity, systems, human growth and development) in the assessment and planning for risk;
  • The capacity to communicate and collaborate with professional networks;
  • Knowledge and understanding of working with diversity and its application when assessing risk and case planning; 
  • Knowledge of and lessons learned from critical incidents when working to safeguard individuals from sexual, physical and emotional harm;
  • An understanding of the legacy of colonization is essential in providing culturally appropriate assessments and case planning to Aboriginal children and families.
  • Learning Activities

    Group exercises
    Student presentations
    Use of multimedia resources.


    Means of Assessment

    This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of any of the following:

    Research papers


    Learning Outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate critical awareness to identify when a risk assessment is required;
    2. Demonstrate a systematic approach to identifying hazards;
    3. Articulate risk in relation to potential sexual, physical and emotional harm;
    4. Demonstrate effective risk management through case planning and application of appropriate resource;
    5. Critically reflect and apply relevant legal frameworks and government/agency procedures to contextualize risk assessment;
    6. Demonstrate self-awareness when completing risk assessment and case planning and how personal and professional values and beliefs can affect and prejudice assessment and decision-making processes;
    7. Demonstrate awareness of methods to reflect on and process outcomes to potential risk when working with individuals;
    8. Demonstrate effective communication skills required for effective inter-agency working;
    9. Identify a number of practical approaches to engage individuals and families in multi-agency planning and decision making-processes;
    10. Critically appraise information used for assessing risk and to avoid “fixed thinking” recognizing the flexibility required for this work;
    11. Demonstrate links to practice using critical incidents;
    12. Demonstrate critical awareness of various tools used to manage and mitigate risk;
    13. Apply theory when completing risk assessment such as: attachment, systems and human growth and development;
    14. Critically discuss the differences in role and responsibilities of other professionals and agencies (such as education, health, the youth justice system, child and adult mental health services, domestic violence services, substance abuse teams) and the contribution they make when managing and planning for risk.
    Textbook Materials

    Text(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:

    Morrison, T; Wonnacott, J; Frankel J. (2009) Guide to the Supervision of Workers during the Early Development Period. CWDC. Leeds.
    Nakamura, P. & Roberta C. eds. (2006). Risk Management Handbook for Health Care Organizations. vol. 1, 5th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Webb, S. (2005) Social Work in a Risk Society: Social and Cultural Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.








    Course Guidelines

    Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

    Course Transfers

    These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

    Institution Transfer Details for SOWK 4133
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) No credit

    Course Offerings

    Summer 2023