APS College of Forensic Psychologists

About Us

 

The College:

 

 


What is forensic psychology?

Forensic psychology is a section of psychology that interfaces with the legal and justice systems. It encompasses areas such as:

  • Expert psychological evidence (written reports and/or oral evidence) in courts (civil, criminal, family, coroner and others) and other tribunals (e.g., compensation tribunals, guardianship boards, parole boards, administrative appeals tribunals)
  • Consultation to areas of the legal and justice system (e.g., trial process and preparation, impact of court proceedings on witnesses and other participants, mediation, police investigations, crime prevention, correctional services, workplace safety, child protection, victims’ needs)
  • Development and delivery of research and clinical services to forensic populations (e.g., counselling children affected by divorce, treatment of substance use disorders, psychotherapy for victims of crime, assessment and treatment of offenders, parenting training). 

 

Areas of specialisation of forensic psychologists

Forensic psychologists are scientist-practitioners. They apply psychological knowledge, theory and skills to the understanding and functioning of legal and criminal justice systems, and to conducting research in relevant areas. They often work in criminal, civil and family legal contexts and provide services for litigants, perpetrators, victims, and personnel of government and community organisations.

 

Forensic psychologists are employed in a variety of areas, including:

  • Courts and other tribunals
  • Mental health (both general services and forensic mental health services)
  • Corrections (adult and juvenile, prisons and community)
  • Child protection
  • Family services (e.g., family violence counselling services, parent training programs)
  • Alcohol and other drug services
  • Rehabilitation services (e.g., pain clinics, head injury services)
  • Police
  • Academia, research and policy organisations
  • Private practice.

 

Skills and competencies of forensic psychologists

  • Collecting and reporting (both in written reports and oral) evidence of a psychological nature for use in legal and quasi-legal proceedings
  • Psychological assessment and report writing
  • Psychological formulation and diagnosis
  • Psychological intervention (psychoeducation; individual, group and family psychotherapies; rehabilitation)
  • Program evaluation
  • Consultation
  • Supervision
  • Education and training
  • Research

 

Qualifications and registration

Forensic psychologists have usually completed a minimum of six years full-time university training. This includes, but is not restricted to, postgraduate study in a recognised forensic psychology training program, plus further supervised practice as a forensic psychologist.

All practising psychologists are legally required to be registered with the Psychologist Registration Board in their State or Territory and, as of 2010, a national registration board. This is to ensure that they meet specified standards of competence and ethical practice.

In addition, psychologists follow strict guidelines for professional conduct. The APS sets and monitors a professional Code of Ethics to safeguard the welfare of recipients of psychological services and the integrity of the psychology profession.

 

Locating a forensic psychologist

  • Use the APS online referral service ‘Find a Psychologist ' to locate a forensic psychologist by performing a search and selecting issues under the relevant categories.
  • Look for the APS listing under ‘Psychologists’ in the Yellow Pages.
  • Enquire through a government department or private agency concerned with the law or justice system, health services, or other community services.
  • Discuss with a legal representative whom he or she would recommend.

 

Accredited Forensic Psychology Courses

Post-graduate courses in each College specialisation are listed among the APAC-accredited Australian university courses in psychology.  Go to the APAC website.

 


The College

APS College of Forensic Psychologists

Membership of the APS College of Forensic Psychologists designates a psychologist who has
achieved a level of competence in this specialty area of practice. Membership is restricted to psychologists who have completed specialised training and have extensive experience in the field. To remain a member of the College, practitioners are required to undertake a program of continuing professional development, with a particular focus on forensic psychology. 

 

Our Membership

The breakdown of College membership is as follows:

By State and Territory

State or Territory # Members

New South Wales

 104

Victoria

   83

Queensland

   58

Western Australia

   25

South Australia

   28

Tasmania

    6

Australian Capital Territory

   11

Northern Territory

    4

Overseas

    4
Total 323

 

By Grade

Membership Type # Members

Member

 229

Associate Member

   11

Affiliate Member

   20

Student Subscriber

   63

Total

  323