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Forensic Psychology within the South African context series 2019


Presented by:

Forensic psychology is a growing field of interest within the South African context.  It can be defined as the “application of psychological knowledge for legal purposes” (Roos & Vorster, 2009, p1) and is used to provide the South African court system with a better understanding of human behaviour in relation to forensic matters.  It is viewed in the literature as a speciality area within psychology (Bush, 2006) and has expanded dramatically in the past 50 years (APA, 2001).  The field of forensic psychology can therefore be seen as a meaningful and even decisive factor in the outcome of legal proceedings (Roos & Vorster, 2009) and therefore places an ethical responsibility onto the clinician to provide a comprehensive understanding of human functioning within the legal setting.  As a psychologist working within a legal environment, the chances of being faced with a legal-ethical dilemma is likely. 

So a question often asked is:  Of what benefit is a forensic psychological opinion in the legal setting?

According to the American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 864;

“From the court’s perspectives, the most valuable contributions of psychologists are those that reflect a clinically astute and scientifically sound approach to legally relevant issues”.

In essence, the psychologist working within the legal field, can provide expert opinion to the court, thereby assisting the court in making informed decisions, when faced with questions of mental health and well-being.

 Working within the forensic field requires specialized knowledge across the aspects of ethics, psychological assessment and the relevant legislation.  This workshop will provide the delegate with an opportunity to explore and learn these various skills.

Outcomes for the Forensic Psychology webinar series

  • To provide a comprehensive and holistic introduction to the psychological aspects related to criminal forensic work in the South African context.
  • To provide the attendee with the relevant knowledge regarding the role and purpose of the psychologist in the South African court system.
  • To understand the scope of practice of a psychologist interested in forensic assessments.
  • To become familiar with the basic principles of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, the Child Justice Act, and the Criminal law (Sexual Offences and related matters) Amendment act 32 of 2007.
  • To understand the purpose of forensic psychological assessment within the South African context.
  • To understand the challenges with regards to child and adolescent forensic assessments and common pitfalls to avoid.
  • To gain an understanding of the nature of sexual offending within a forensic psychological perspective.
  • To gain an understanding of the outline of forensic psychological reports.
  • To introduce and familiarize the clinician on the aspects of malingering and secondary gain motivations in forensic psychological assessment as well as assessment behaviour.
  • To revise the concept of ethics within psychology and psychological assessment.
  • To learn the specific aspects of ethical principles in forensic psychological assessments.
  • To understand and be able to apply the 8 step model of ethical decision making according to Bush, Connell and Denny, 2006.
  • Court etiquette.

 Practical case studies addressing the course content mentioned above.

Who should attend?

This workshop is intended for all psychologists interested in the pursuit of forensic work.  It is an introductory workshop and is therefore aimed at those new to world of forensic work within psychology.

DISCLAIMER: Presenters and attendees of all CPD activities must please note that the attainment of continuing education units (CEUs) does not licence any professional to practice outside their official scope of practice. CEUs are intended to broaden the knowledge of professionals but do not constitute professional training. Professionals should be registered with the HPCSA to perform any psychological act.