What do forensic psychologists do?
They research why some people refuse to believe a relationship is over and stalk their partner
They work with victims or perpetrators of crime
They combine psychological principles with the legal and criminal justice system
What is forensic psychology?
A specialised area of psychology that applies psychological theory and skills to the understanding and functioning of the legal and criminal justice system
What are some of a forensic psychologists areas of specialisation?
Sexual offending, domestic violence, assessments of dangerousness, conducting research, conducting assessments for the court, police work and offender profiling.
Make sure to remember at least two
What are some of a forensic psychologists roles?
Preparing criminal profiles, assessing current or retrospective mental impairments, determining whether a person is ‘fit’ (mentally) to stand trail or enter a plea, they provide advice and expert opinions to the court, assess and treat victims of crime; witnesses of crime and perpetrators of crime, assess the dangerousness of criminals and conduct research.
Remember at least three
Who are some of a forensic psychologist’s clients?
Convicted offenders who need treatment, accused individuals who need medical assessment, ‘not guilty’ individuals due to mental impairment, convicted or alleged offenders who need to be assessed or treated, convicted offenders who are living in the community but seek or require treatment
Where can a forensic psychologist work?
A court room: providing assessments, reports and being an expert witness or giving an expert opinion
A police station: developing profiles for suspects
The treatment room (prisons, special organisations- CPS): assess and treat victims, witnesses and criminals
The research lab: conduct research such as witness studies, jury behaviour and psychology of the courtroom
Remember at least two of the above
Also: forensic mental health units, correctional institutions (prisons), law courts, children protection services, sexual offenders treatment services, domestic violence programs, police, universities, research organisations
What is stalking?
A term used to describe a person’s persistent (continuous) attempts to force unwanted communication or contact on another person that causes the victim fear or distress
How can a stalker communicate?
By phone, letter, fax, email, social media, graffiti, gifts, etc.
How can a stalker make contact with a victim?
Direct approaches, following, loitering, surveillance
What are some other ways a stalker can try to reach out to their victim?
They could order or cancel something for the victim, spread gossip, contact family and friends and make threats to causing harm
Is stalking a criminal behaviour? Explain.
Stalking is a criminal behaviour as you are causing unwanted communication with a victim. Stalking has been considered a crime in Victoria since 1994 and is in the amendment (Act). The penalty is 10 years in prison.
What are the different types of stalkers?
Acronym: RIIPER Rejected stalker Intimacy-seeking stalker Incompetent stalker Predatory stalker Erotomanic stalker Resentful stalker
Why are stalkers classified into different types?
It helps to give them the right treatment as each different type of stalker has a different treatment strategy.
What is a rejected stalker’s typical behaviour?
They have experienced a breakup recently in a personal relationship (can be friendship as well as romantic) and they refuse to believe/accept that the relationship is over. They then use a variety of stalking behaviours to continue to be close to the victim
What is an erotomanic stalker’s typical behaviour?
They are known to have erotomania which is a delusional disorder where they believe that another person or people is in love with this individual.
The stalker would believe this regardless of the evidence or the truth. This is usually associated with someone of a higher status, for example: a celebrity or boss.
What is an intimacy-seeking stalker’s typical behaviour?
They respond to loneliness and try to establish a close relationship with someone in an inappropriate way. They would begin stalking after a brief social encounter and can stalk their victim for a very long time. They don’t see a court order as something that could stop them from stalking and see the punishment for stalking as a ‘price to pay’.
What is a predatory stalker’s typical behaviour?
They pursue their desire for sexual gratification as well as control of others through stalking. They secretly follow their victim and maintain surveillance with contact rarely being made.
What is an incompetent stalker’s typical behaviour?
They lack the social skills and knowledge on how to establish a close relationship with another person yet they want a friend or lover. They use inappropriate methods to ‘keep close contact’. An example is continuously ‘accidentally’ ‘bumping into’ their victims at various social encounters. They may star after a brief social encounter.
What is a resentful stalker’s typical behaviour?
They are obsessed with their victims over a real or imagined insult or made up injury and want to ‘get even’. A possible victim can be a politician or former boss
Who is likely to be a victim of stalking?
Anyone can be a victim of stalking and most victims are ‘average’ people. Other than normal, every day, ‘average’ people, other people who can be stalked are third parties (ex-boyfriends, parents), VIP’s (celebrities, politicians, royalty, athletes), ex-partners, casual acquaintances (‘friend of a friend’), work colleagues or clients, estranged friends or family friends and neighbours.
How long can stalking last for?
Stalking can last for days, weeks, months or even years.
What is the psychological impact of stalking?
The psychological impact is similar to a traumatic experience, like being raped or witnessing a death. Symptoms often include feelings of powerlessness, sever stress, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares, guilt and self blame, anger and irritability, a desire to withdraw from others and feeling suspicious or wary of others
What is the physical impact of stalking?
The victim could have severe sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting and a worsening of any physical conditions that were present before the stalking began, for example: high blood pressure, asthma and stomach ulcers.
What are some lifestyle changes due to stalking?
The victim could move house, avoid certain places, cut back on social outings, avoid social outings, take extra security measures or change jobs.
How can a forensic psychologist help victims of stalking?
They could provide education about stalkers (not personal), give strategies on how to deal with stalkers, provide advice (contact police, document the stalking, tell family and friends and make an appointment for an intervention order) and give psychological treatment.
What is criminal profiling?
THE PROCESS. It is a technique used to assist in the identification of a likely criminal offender for a particular crime or series of crimes.
It gives a ‘logical’ summary about a criminal, also known as offender profiling.
It works out a description of the types of person (the profile) likely to be responsible.
What does criminal profiling involve?
It involves how they came to be the way they are, what they are like right now and work out what can be done to catch them before they commit another crime.
Who uses the process of criminal profiling?
Almost all law enforcement agencies (state and federal police in Australia and internationally).
What is a criminal profile?
WHAT YOU END UP WITH. It is the overall portrait or picture of a likely offender.
What does a criminal profile consist of?
Physiological characteristics (Physical): gender, ethnicity (Caucasian…), body build, left or right handedness
Psychological characteristics (Mental): intelligence, personality, mental health
Other demographic information: employment status, socioeconomic (financial) status, marital status, clothing preferences, type of vehicle they own
What is criminal profiling and criminal profiles based on?
They are based on the assumption that criminals will leave clues to their identity at a crime scene.
The offender’s (criminal) behaviour at the crime scene reflects something about them as a person.
Psychological fingerprint: clues to their identity
When is criminal profiling used?
It is used once a crime has occurred but when we don’t really know who committed the crime. It is created using the clues left behind.
It helps the police to identify potential suspects as well as narrow the list of suspects.
It is usually used for mass murderers (for people who kill more than one person: serial murderer/serial killer)
What is an offender signature?
A pattern of distinctive behaviours that are characteristics of, and satisfy, the offenders emotional and psychological needs
Offender signature: calling card
What as the two components of an offender signature?
Signature aspect and signature behaviour
What is the signature aspect?
The emotional or psychological needs that the offender satisfies when commuting an offence.
The motivation, example: anger, pleasure
What is the signature behaviour?
Those acts committed by an offender that are not necessary to complete the crime, but which the offender must do to satisfy himself
It often gives clues to signature aspects
What are the three types of multiple murderers?
Serial murderer: someone who has murdered on at least three occasions and has an emotional cooling off period in between
Mass murderer: someone who kills four or more victims in one location at one time
Spree killer: someone who kills at two or more locations within a short period of time (almost no break in between)
What are the four types of serial murderes
2- Mission- oriented
Define a visionary serial murderer.
Someone driven to kill by voices or visions, either from God and angels or demons and the devil. They may be suffering from some sort of severe psychotic disorder.
Define a mission-oriented serial murderer.
Someone driven to kill in order to eliminate a certain sub-populations
Example: homosexuals, prostitutes
Define a hedonistic serial murderer.
Someone driven to kill because of the pleasure they get from the act or because it enhances the murderer’s social and personal status (financial or material gain).
Define a power/control serial murderer.
Someone driven to kill because of the pleasure they get from having complete control and dominance over the victim. It makes them feel powerful and important.
How is a serial murderer different from a mass murderer?
The main difference between the two is that a serial murderer has a cooling off period in between each kill while a mass murderer kills four or more people at one time in one place.
What distinguishes a spree murderer?
When the killer murders people at two or more locations.
What are the types of criminal profiling methods?
There are three types (only need to know 1- the third one)
1- Crime scene analysis (made by FBI in USA)
2- Investigative Psychology (made by Dr David Carter in the UK)
3- Behavioural evidence analysis (made by Brent Turvey)
What is inductive criminal profiling?
Comparing known information about the crime under investigation with other similar crimes. Uses this comparison to decide on the type of offender who is most likely responsible.
What is deductive criminal profiling?
Using information about the crime to draw specific conclusions about the type of offender responsible. Also know as Behavioural Evidence Analysis (BEA)
Using the example below, what is the signature aspect and behaviour?
Example: if an offender does not like blondes because as a child they were bullied by a popular blond girl, they might kill their victim (who is blind) and then die their hair brunette.
Aspect: revenge and anger towards girls with blond hair
Behaviour: dying the girls hair brown after killing her
What does BEA stand for?
Behavioural Evidence Analysis
What is the first step for BEA? Explain
Where you analyse the forensic evidence using physical evidence such as: crime scene photos, sketches and videos, autopsy reports, videos or photos, bloodstream patterns- directions of flow/gush and amount of blood loss, bullet wounds- direction of entry, gunpowder burns (shows if shot at from too close a distance) and hair fibres, fingerprints and DNA test results.
Called equivocal forensic analysis because it’s important for investigators to consider the fact that the evidence can be interpreted in more than one way.
What is the second step for BEA? Explain.
Looking at the victims personality, age, physical build and marital status- it helps to create an as accurate a ‘picture’ of the victim as possible.
Determine how? when? why? the victim was chosen- gives a clue to the identity of the offender
What is an example of using victimology to help find the offender?
If an offender carries the victim away from the spot he/she killed the victim it suggests the offender it either muscular or has a heavy build or an accomplice.
If there was no struggle it might mean that the victim knows the offender or that they had good social skills to convince the victim to accompany them.
What is the third step for BEA? Explain.
Scene (crime scene):
Analyse the crime scene characteristics using evidence and victimology (step one and two). To determine where? and the number of crime scenes. Also determines if the crime scene had a special meaning to the the criminal- helps provide clues to the offender’s identity.
Primary crime scene: place where majority of interaction between victim and offender takes place.
What is the fourth step for BEA? Explain.
Profile (criminal profile):
Develop a criminal profile using physiological and psychological characteristics. It is prepared using information from steps one, two and three.
The profile is given to detectives working on the case so they can cross check it with their list of suspects. It can produce more suspects or eliminate suspects that are under investigation.
What is the fifth step for BEA? Explain.
This only occurs in about 50% of cases. The suspect is identified and he or she is interviewed, investigated and compared to the profile. If the police believe this person is the perpetrator they get a warrant to arrest them and it is then followed by a trial (arrested then taken to trial) with expert witnesses- forensic psychologists and other forensic experts, including the people involved in step one.
What is a warrant?
A document issued by a legal or government official authorising the police or another body to make an arrest, search premises or carry out some action relating to the administration of justice.
What is dangerousness?
It refers to the likelihood of a person (with or without a mental disorder) committing a serious act of violence with little provocation (being provoked) in a variety of real life situations.
Who assess dangerousness?
Use assessments and reports about dangerousness- what is the risk of allowing this person into the community (bail, sentencing and prevention detention, conditions of parole, rehabilitation)? It is long term and used in the criminal justice system.
What are the risk factors that lead to dangerousness?
History and background
What are some examples of demographic factors that lead to dangerousness?
Remember at least two.
Poor social support (employment difficulties, unstable relationships)
What are some examples of history and background factors that lead to dangerousness?
Remember at least two.
Previous episodes of violence/convictions: numerous serious offences, young age at their first violent, lack of remorse (guilt, regret, shame)
Alcohol or substance abuse
Has a serious mental illness (ex- schizophrenia)
Poor self control and impulsivity- acting without thinking of consequences
Doesn’t take recommended medication or attend recommended therapy sessions
Drug use by father
History of parental fighting
Abuse in childhood
What are some examples of mental state that can lead to dangerousness?
Remember at least two.
Preoccupations with, or plans to be violent (has large collection of violent videos) and has access to weapons
Current threats to be violent (when people have restraining orders taken against them)
The presence of paranoid delusions (ex- wrongly believes that is being watched by others)
Is dangerousness linked to mental disorder
It is assumed that mental disorders are associated with criminal behaviour and that mentally disordered prey on innocent and that they attack unsuspecting strangers in public areas. Also tends to be reinforced by media. ALL WRONG
4% of Aus offenders were recorded to have a mental disorder in 1999
The location is more likely to be private
A mental disorder is taken into consideration when assessing dangerousness
What is a psychopath?
A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviour. They can be an unstable and aggressive person.
How to you assess dangerousness?
Using structured clinical judgement: a method of assessing an offender’s risk or future violent behaviour.
Uses a combination of: forensic psychologist professional training (knowledge, skills and expertise), consideration of the individual risk factors and offenders scores on a violence risk assessment (historical- clinical- risk management- 20, psychopathy checklist- revised)
What steps are taken to assess dangerousness (steps for structured clinical judgment)?
1- gather information from the offender, the offender’s family, the victim’s and their families, police and thier reports, court reports and other health professionals (doctors, psychologists, nurses, social workers, etc.)
2- conduct risk assessment (tests)
3- examine demographic factors, history and background and mental state (three things that influence risk of violence)
4- determine the dangerousness and risk of the offender
What is the accuracy of dangerousness predictions?
True positive: a correct prediction that the individual will be violent
True negative: correct prediction that the individual will not be violent
False positive: incorrectly identified someone as posing a future risk of violence when in fact they don’t
False negative: incorrectly incentivised someone as posing no future risk of violence when in fact they do
Uses contingency table
Will be violent Is violent Is not violent
Won’t be violent 1 3
What is an eye witness?
Someone who has first hand knowledge about a specific event or crime through their senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching) and can help others understand what happened at an event/crime
What is an eyewitness memory?
Refers to the eyewitness’s memory of the specific event or crime
What is an eyewitness testimony?
Refers to the verbal or written statement the person gives about what they remember about the specific even or crime they witness, relying solely on their memory.
Often includes information about the suspect, the details or the crime, who else was there, the sequence of events, time of day, etc.
What is the difference between eyewitness testimony and eyewitness memory?
Eyewitness memory is what the person remembers, but eyewitness testimony is what the person says or writes about what happened
What is memory?
An information processing system that obtains, retains and receives information.
Important in eyewitness memory and testimony as someone can be wrongly convicted if you give false data (get it wrong)
What are the three stages of memory?
What happens in the encoding stage for memory?
It is a way that information is converted so it can be stored in memory.
When compared to a computer- typing on your computer
What happens in the storage stage for memory?
Refers to the retention of information so that it can be used at a later time.
Compared to computer- saving the information on your hard drive
What happens in the retrieval stage of memory?
Refers to the process of locating and recovering of stored information from memory.
Comparing to computer- finding a file on your hard drive
What are factors that can influence eyewitness memory?
VERY WET TOES MAY CAUSE A CHILL V W T M C Problems with encoding: - Violent distraction - Weapon focus
Problems with retrieval:
- Trace-dependant forgetting
- Motivated forgetting
- Cue-dependant forgetting
How can problems with encoding influence memory?
We may only encode some information or distort the information we encode.
What is violence distraction
Refers to an eyewitness’s decreased ability to recall what they witnessed, the more violent the crime, the less accurate the memory.
Have better memory for non-violent event
Yerkes-Dodson Law of Arousal- high levels of arousal lead to lower levels or performance
What is weapon focus?
Refers to an eyewitness’s decrease ability to give an accurate description of the perpetrator when a weapon is used in a crime.
In violent events, witnesses focus on the weapon and don’t focus on anything else- reduced focus results in reduced encoding.
What did Loftus do (psychologist)?
Showed two different videos of the same event, but one had a gun and one had a cheque.
The people who saw the video with the gun were unable to accurately identify details of the context and people who saw the video with the cheque who able to accurately identify details of the context.
Because attention is drawn to the weapon.
How can problems with retrieval influence memory?
Some information is easier to retrieve while some information is harder. It is when we have trouble retrieving information- forgetting.
What is trace-dependant forgetting?
Assumed that forgetting is a result of the decay of a memory through the passing of time. Memories fade with time, when something new is learned a memory is formed.
Memory trace: a physical or chemical trace, or impression, that is formed in the brain when something new is learned. The memory trace fades in time.
A person’s memory of accidents or crimes fades the longer the delay between witnessing a crime and when asked to retrieve it.
What is motivated forgetting?
Refers to forgetting that has occurred when information has been unconsciously blocked or hidden from a person’s consciousness because it is too painful or unpleasant to remember.
Repression; a desire to forget, occurs unconsciously, self defence- protect ourselves from harm. The information is not forgotten, it is just stopped from being retrieved.
Thought to be retrieved through hypnosis. Typically of very violent or dangerous crimes.
What is the difference between repression and suppression
Repression: unconsciously forgetting (r=rape)
Suppression: consciously forgetting
What is a retrieval cue?
A retrieval cue is any stimulus that assists in the process of locating and recovering information stored in memory
What is cue-dependant forgetting?
When we can’t retrieve our memory because we can’t find the cues to get them, the memory is stil, there.
Two types of retrieval cues: State dependant (your mood at the time) Context dependant (the surroundings of the memory)
How can we help eyewitnesses remember what they saw?
5 police procedures:
1- the cognitive interview (don’t change their thoughts, asking questions, finding cue)
2- forensic hypnosis
3- line up (visual cue)
4- mug shots
5- constructing a facial composite (drawing)
Why is a cognitive interview useful in helping with the accuracy of memory?
Because the person who is trying to retrieve the memory isn’t asked questions which could distort or change their memory. This helps them to give an as accurate as possible memory based on what they remember.
What is an expert witness?
Someone with specialised knowledge, skills or expertise in the information they present before a court
When is an expert witness used?
When the court requires knowledge that is outside an ordinary person’s expertise
Who hires an expert witness?
Hired by the defence or prosecution in hope that the expert opinion and evidence provided will support their case. It is possible for all experts to agree with each other.
What are the roles of an expert witness?
Assessing a defendant’s fitness to enter a plea (guilty or not guilty)
Assessing a defendant’s fitness to stand trial
Assessing an offender’s risk of future violence (dangerousness)
Cases where criminal responsibility needs to be determined
Who are qualified to be an expert witness?
Someone skilled in ballistics (ammunition)
Someone skilled in analysis of the test reports from DNA
someone skilled in analysis of fingerprints.
What is expert evidence?
Facts from the domain of the expert witness’s expertise
What is criminal responsibility?
Establishing whether a person should be held responsible for the crime they committed or whether they lack mensrea
What is mensrea?
The suspect’s state of mind or mental part of offence
What is actus reus?
The criminal act or physical part of the offence
What does the person’s age have to do with criminal responsibility?
In AUS- are only deemed legally responsible for their actions after ten years- can’t be charged
Children ten to fourteen are doli incapax. Only deemed responsible if they can prove they had mensrea- looking at their state of mind
What is diminished responsibility?
Being counted for manslaughter instead of murder
Only available in relation to charges of murder
If successful- found guilty of manslaughter, allows for more flexible sentencing
Who are four killers you need to know about?
Jack the Ripper
Martian John Bryant
What is Behavioural Evidence Analysis (BEA)?
It is based on deductive reasoning. It is a method which uses all the evidence a person leaves behind at the crime scene to develop a profile of the criminal
What are the steps in behavioural evidence analysis (BEA)?
There are five steps in the process EVSPA: Evidence Victim Scene (crime scene) Profile Apprehension/Arrest