My job as a Forensic Psychologist
Forensic psychologists work at the intersection of the legal world and clinical psychology. I provide assessments and expert testimony in a variety of types of cases and also provide court ordered treatment in clinics and prisons. I work in a variety of forensic areas, but much of my work involves farm attacks and evaluating persons accused of criminal offenses to see if they are competent to stand trial, evaluating defendants to see if they are legally insane (not guilty by reason of insanity) and evaluating convicted sexual offenders to see if they are eligible for commitment as sexually violent predators. I also perform child custody, and fitness for duty assessments.
I’m not sure that I have an average day. In the course of a week I may spend days in my office doing evaluations or travelling around South Africa to evaluate prisoners in various prisons. As part of my work, I often testify in District Magistrate’s Courts, and High Courts. Sometimes I spend entire days reviewing files, and there are always reports to write. In between all of this, I squeeze in a few psychotherapy patients. I have also published a book and a number of Medical Journal articles.
Crime Scene Investigation
Assume control – ensure safety of personnel and security at scene. Ensure personnel use appropriate protective equipment and follow standard recommendations to protect them from any health hazard which might be presented by blood or any other human body fluid.
Conduct initial walk-through for purposes of making a preliminary survey, evaluating potential evidence, and preparing a narrative description.
Determine search patterns, and make appropriate assignments for team members.
Designate command post location and ensure exchange of information between search and investigative personnel.
Coordinate with other law enforcement agencies and make sure a cooperative spirit is maintained.
Ensure that sufficient supplies and equipment are available for personnel.
Control access to the scene and designate an individual to log everyone into the scene.
Continuously re-evaluate efficiency of search during entire course of operation.
Release the scene after a final survey and inventory of the evidence has been done.