Forensic Psychology within the South African context webinar series

Time : 17:00 – 18:00

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.

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.

This webinars will focus on;

  • Introducing the field of criminal forensic psychology and areas of particular interest within this domain. ( 10 April)
  • Child and adolescent forensic assessment (8 May)
  • Forensic report writing and pitfalls to avoid (12 June)
  • Malingering and assessment behaviour in forensic psychological assessment (10 July)
  • Ethics in forensic psychological assessment and report writing (7 August)


The following areas will be covered in the series:

  • The history of forensic psychology in South Africa
  • The role of the psychologist in the South African court system and scope of practice
  • Relevant South African legislation applicable to psychological work and assessment (including HPCSA guidelines)
  • Ethical aspects to be considered within forensic psychological work and frameworks with which to approach any ethical dilemmas
  • Competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility


Outcomes for the Forensic Psychology webinar series

  1. To provide a comprehensive and holistic introduction to the psychological aspects related to criminal forensic work in the South African context.
  2. To provide the attendee with the relevant knowledge regarding the role and purpose of the psychologist in the South African court system.
  3. To understand the scope of practice of a psychologist interested in forensic assessments.
  4. To become familiar with the basic principles of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.
  5. To be introduced to the basic principles of the Child Justice Act.
  6. To understand the purpose of forensic psychological assessment within the South African context.
  7. To understand the challenges with regards to children and adolescent forensic assessments and common pitfalls to avoid.
  8. To gain an understanding of the outline of forensic psychological reports.
  9. To introduce and familiarize the clinician on the aspects of malingering and secondary gain motivations in psychological assessment as well as assessment behaviour.
  10. To revise the concept of ethics within psychology and psychological assessment.
  11. To learn the specific aspects of ethical principles in forensic psychological assessments.
  12. To understand and be able to apply the 8 step model of ethical decision making according to Bush, Connell and Denny, 2006.


For whom is the workshop intended:

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.



  • Roos, V. & Vorster. C. 2009. An introduction to forensic psychology. Verbum Publishers. Potchefstroom
  • S. (ed). 2006. Psycholegal assessment in South Africa. Oxford University Press: SA Ackerman, M.J. 2010. Essentials of forensic psychological assessment. 2nd ed. Wiley: USA
  • Bush, S.S., Connell, M.A. & Denney, R.L. 2006. Ethical Practice in Forensic Psychology: A systematic model for decision making. APA. Washington, DC
  • American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.
  • American Psychological Association (1999). Guidelines for psychological evaluation in child protection matters. American Psychologist, 54, 586-593.

American Psychological Association. (2007). Record keeping Guidelines. American Psychologist, 62, 993-1004.


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