Introduction to Forensic Psychology within the South African context

Time : 08:30 – 16:30
Type of Training : Workshop
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.


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 can 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 full day introductory workshop will focus on introducing the field of criminal forensic psychology and areas of particular interest within this domain.

The following areas will be covered in the workshop:

  • 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
  • Criminal forensic assessment and report writing
  • Common pitfalls in forensic psychological report writing
  • Malingering and assessment behaviour
  • Competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility (pathological criminal incapacity, non-pathological criminal incapacity and diminished criminal capacity): how do we determine this?
  • Brief overview of the mitigating and aggravating factors associated with sentencing of an offender
  • Case studies relevant to the above mentioned

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.

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