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66 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Define forensic psychology.
This is a specialised area of
psychology that applies
psychological theory and
skills to the understanding
and functioning of the legal and criminal justice system.
What would a forensic psychologist assess before the case is at court?
■ a person’s state of mind at the time of committing an alleged offence (e.g. did the person had a mental disorder or intellectual disability)
■ whether the person is ‘mentally fit’ to enter a plea (e.g. guilty or not guilty) or stand trial (e.g. are they able to understand the court proceedings?)
Who could a forensic psychologist treat?
■ people who are the victims of crime or witnesses
■ offenders in custody, awaiting trial or sentencing) or on robation in the community
What would sort of judgements would a forensic psychologist need to make about a criminal?
They would need to assess the ‘dangerousness’ of an offender, that is, making a judgement about the likelihood of their re-offending in the future. As well as their ability to enter a plea.
What would the forensic psychologist research?
personality influences on criminals, characteristics of stalkers, eyewitness memory, jury behaviour and offending behaviour.
Forensic psychologists give advice to police and the court. What sort of things would they be giving advice on?
■ Advising the police about the type of person likely to have committed a crime (e.g. ‘profilng’ criminals.
■ giving an ‘expert’ opinion to a court (e.g. whether they think the person was suffering from a mental disorder or intellectual
disability at the time of the crime)
What are some of the specialisations that forensic psychologists do?
They can study:
■ sexual offending
■ domestic violence
■ conducting assessments of risk to self and/or others (‘dangerousness’)
■ conducting research
■ conducting assessments for the court
■ police work and offender profiling.
Define stalking.
This is a term used to describe a person’s persistent attempts to force unwanted communications or contact on another person that cause the victim fear or distress.
Where would a forensic psychologist work?
■ forensic mental health units
■ correctional institutions (prisons)
■ law courts (e.g. Magistrates’, Family, and Children’s)
■ child protection services
■ sexual offenders treatment services
■ domestic violence programs
■ police units
■ universities
■ research organisations (e.g. Australian Institute of riminology).
What are some behaviours associated with stalking?
■ ordering or cancelling something for the victim, but without the victim giving their permission or knowing about it
(e.g. ordering take-away food or taxis, and cancelling their newspaper delivery)
■ spreading malicious gossip ■ contacting their family or friends
■ making threats to harm their loved ones.
How could a stalker ‘communicate’ with their victim?
This can be by telephone (including answering machine, voicemail, and SMS, text messages), letters, faxes, email ‘gifts’ or other unwanted material, or even graffiti.
How could a stalker make contact with the victim?
This can be be made through direct approaches (e.g. talking with the victim); following (e.g. walking a few steps behind the victim); loitering outside the victim’s home, workplace, or other places the victim goes to regularly; or maintaining surveillance (e.g. spying on the victim).
What would you have to do in order to be found guilty of stalking?
The Victorian law states that a person is guilty of stalking if he or she
engages in a series of actions with the intention of causing physical or mental harm to victim, or causing fear or apprehension for the victim’s safety or the
safety of their loved ones.
Explain email stalking.
This includes sending:
` unsolicited obscene or threatening emails;
` viruses (via attachments);
` high volumes of electronic junk mail (spamming); and/or ` long email messages that tie up the victim’s system by consuming its computer memory (mail bombing).
Explain Internet Stalking.
This is is of a more public nature than email stalking. It can be used to slander and endanger victims and it often spills over into ‘real life’ stalking. Includes: ` impersonating the victim, disclosing the victim’s personal details and inviting unwelcome personal attention, both through the internet and in real life .e.g. flaming
Explain computer stalking.
This is unauthorised control of another person’s computer. (using the internet and the Windows in a direct computer-to-computer link). The cyberstalker can communicate directly with the victim as soon as the victim’s computer connects in any way to the internet. Sophisticated cyberstalkers can carry out ‘keystroke logging’ and
real-time surveillance of the victim’s use of the computer. Electronic theft of stored information is also possible.
Name the types of stalkers.
■ the intimacy-seeking stalker
■ the predatory stalker
■ the incompetent suitor
■ the resentful stalker.
■ the rejected stalker
■ the erotomanic stalker
Explain the erotomanic stalker
This is a type of delusional disorder in which the person has a false and fixed belief that another person (usually higher status) is in love with them (regardless of evidence against this). For example, they may be a celebrity or a boss at work, but it can be a complete stranger
Explain the Rejected stalker
This is due to the stalker experiencing a breakup in a personal relationship but
refuses to believe and accept that the relationship has really ended. They are often described as someone who ‘just can’t let go’ and typically use a variety of stalking behaviours, such as repeatedly approaching, telephoning and writing letters or notes to the victim
Explain the intimacy seeking stalker.
This stalker responds to loneliness by trying to establish a close relationship with someone else in an inappropriate way. It may begin after a brief social encounter and subsequently write a lot of letters and send gifts to their victim. They may stalk their victim for a very
long period of time (e.g. more than a year) and court appearances or jail terms
do not necessarily stop their stalking. They tend to see punishment as the ‘price I must pay in the pursuit of real love’
Explain the predatory stalker.
This stalker pursues their desires for sexual gratification and control of others through stalking. They tend to concentrate on secretly following their victim and maintaining surveillance of them. They never send letters and rarely phone or openly approach their victim
Explain the resentful stalker
This stalker become obsessed with their victim over some real or imagined insult or injury, and typically stalks to ‘get even’. A politician, for example, may become the target of a resentful stalker who has become very angry over some political decision or action they disagree with. E.g. A former boss or an entire company.
Explain the incompetent suitor
This stalker wants a friend and lover but lacks the social skills and knowledge of how to establish a close relationship with someone, so they use inappropriate methods of ‘keeping close contact’. For example, ‘accidentally’ and frequently bumping into their victim in many different places such as the gym, movies, and the supermarket. It may also begin stalking someone after a brief social encounter.
What would a forensic psychologist work on with an erotomanic stalker?
If the stalker is an erotomanic stalker, the most effective way for the psychologist to help them stop stalking is to focus on treating the person’s
What would a forensic psychologist work on with incompetent suitors?
If the stalker is an incompetent suitor, the most effective way for the psychologist to help them is to focus on improving the person’s social skills and widen their network of social contacts.
Who can become a victim of stalking?
Unfortunately, anyone can be a victim of stalking, regardless of their age, gender, occupation, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Stalking is not limited to celebrities –most victims are ‘average’ people. Victims are usually stalked by someone they know, such as ex-partners, casual acquaintances, work colleagues or clients, estranged friends of family members, or neighbours. Occasionally, victims may be stalked by strangers.
Explain the physical impact of stalking on the victim.
This can include severe sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and a worsening of any physical conditions that were present before the stalking began such as high blood pressure,
asthma, stomach ulcers, and eczema.
Explain the psychological impact of stalking.
These are often similar to those of
traumatic experiences, such as being raped or witnessing a death. Symptoms include feelings of powerlessness, severe stress, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares, guilt and self-blame, anger and irritability, a desire to withdraw from others, and feeling suspicious and wary of others.
Explain the lifestyle factors associated with becoming a victim of stalking.
Such changes included moving house;
avoiding certain places; cutting back on social outings; reducing, stopping or changing employment; and adopting additional security measures such as installing house alarms and video-surveillance equipment.
How could you help a victim of stalking?
The victim may be advised to: contact the police, document the stalking, inform close friends and family that they are being stalked, avoid contact with the stalker, and possibly make an application for a stalking intervention order. If necessary, the victim is given psychological treatment to help them cope with any
psychological problems they are experiencing.
Define criminal profiling.
This is the overall portrait or ‘picture’ of a likely offender. It usually includes physiological characteristics and psychological characteristics and other characteristics.
Explain what the offender signature is.
This is sometimes called a
‘calling card’, is ‘a pattern
of distinctive behaviours
that are characteristic of,
and satisfy, the offender’s
emotional and psychological
Explain what a mass murderer is
Has more than 4 victims, in one event in one location. With no cooling off period.
Explain what is meant by signature behaviour.
This includes those acts committed by
an offender that are not
necessary to complete
the crime, but which the
offender must do to satisfy himself. They often give clues as to the psychological or emotional needs of the offender.
Explain what a spree murderer is
Has more than 2 victims, in one event but with more than one location. With no cooling off period.
What is the average age for their first kill for serial killers?
Males; 29.0
Females: 30.7
What is the general childhood profile of serial killers?
Unstable home.
Absences of loving and nurturing relationship.
Physically sick a lot/disabilities
Head injuries
TRIAD: bed wetting, animal torture and fire starting.
Explain what a serial killer is:
Over two victims, over two locations, with a cooling off period.
Explain how intelligent serial killers are likely to be:
Serial killers in general have average intelligence (normal=100, serial killers 98.7)
Organized killers have a higher iq.
Explain the main categories that we use to categorize serial killers.
Crime Scene
When we categorize a serial killer, what would we look at when examining a crime scene?
Type of weapon
Use of torture
Attempt to hide the body
What would be the forensic (criminal history) of most serial killers.
TRIAD: ( bed wetting), animal torture and fire starting
Most have a criminal history.
83.9% were previously arrested.
72.3% had spent some time in jail.
Many received psychiatric treatment. 20% spent some time in hospital for mental issues.
When we categorize a serial killer what would we look at if we were examining the killer?
Age, race, gender, IQ, mental issues.
When we categorize a serial killer, what would we look at when examining the type of victim?
The victim's: sex, race, age, occupation and personality.
What would be the characteristics of a missionary serial killer?
Kill to ‘clean up the world”
When we examine the motivation of the serial killer what are we looking at?
Is it about sex, power or financial gain?
What would be the characteristics of a visionary serial killer?
They have paranoia or schizophrenia. They were told by voices/god to kill.
Explain what mens rea means.
This is the offender’s mental intention to commit the criminal act. It refers to the suspect’s ‘state of mind’ or the mental part of the offence. Did they intend to do this crime or not?
What would be the characteristics of a black widow killer?
Kill husbands, lovers or friends for financial gain.
Almost always women.
90% use poison.
What are three reasons you can an effect on your criminal responsibility?
Automatism. This means that although the person
committed the physical act of the crime, they were not conscious of what
they were doing.

Their age.

Diminished responsibility (due to mental impairment
Explain how children are treated by the legal system if they have been caught doing a crime.
In Australia, children are only deemed legally responsible for
their actions after the age of 10 years. Children under the age of 10 cannot be charged with a criminal offence. Children aged 10–14 years are doli incapax. This means they are not deemed criminally responsible unless the prosecution can prove they had the mens rea (intention/motive) beyond reasonable doubt.
What is criminal responsibility?
This refers to establishing whether a person should be held responsible for the crime they committed or whether they lacked the mens rea/intention of doing the crime?
Explain automatism.
This means that although the person committed the physical act of the crime, they were not conscious of what they were doing. For example, someone who commits a crime when they
are sleepwalking, having an epileptic seizure, suffering from a type of amnesia called a fugue, or a medical condition such as hypoglycaemia.
Explain what manslaughter is.
This applies where a person kills another in circumstances where the offender’s responsibility is less than that required to constitute murder (i.e. that mens
rea could not be proven). Manslaughter is an indictable offence and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and/ or a fine of $198 000.
Explain when a criminal would ask for ‘diminished responsibility’ for their crime.
This refers to a defence via
which a defendant argues
that that although they
broke the law, they should
not be held criminally
responsible for doing so, as
their mental functions were
impaired at the time of the crime.
Explain what diminished responsibility is.
This s only available in relation to charges of murder and, if successful, will be found guilty of manslaughter, which allows for more flexible sentencing
Explain what mental impairment is.
This is a legal term
that refers to a person
having a mental disorder
(e.g. schizophrenia) or an
intellectual disability (e.g.
low level of intelligence).
What sort of things would an email stalker do?
This may be done by posting an inflammatory
message to a bulletin board so that the victim will be deluged with abusive messages from other computer users. The
sending of the abusive messages is known as ‘flaming’; and
` creating a web page monitoring or defaming the victim.
Why does the erotomanic stalker believe that their victim is secretly in love with them?
The person may also believe that the object of their delusion secretly communicates their love by subtle methods such as body posture, arrangement of household objects, and other seemingly harmless acts (or, if
the person is a public fig ure, through clues in the media). The object of the delusion usually has little or no contact with the delusional person and efforts to contact them (through telephone calls, letters, sending gifts, visits, and even surveillance) are common.
Define Dangerousness.
This refers to
the likelihood of a person
committing a serious act
of violence, with little
provocation, in a variety of real-life situations.
Explain how a victim of cyberstalking would compare to a victim of ‘normal’ stalking.
They are equally at risk of psychological trauma and possible physical harm. Some situations have led to further stalking where victims have reported abusive phone calls, vandalism, threatening or obscene mail, trespassing and physical assault from their stalker.
How could the victim’s family or friends be effected by a stalker?
While stalkers usually focus their harassment on the primary victim, third parties such as family members, friends or workmates of the victim may also be threatened or harassed.
What would be the other characteristics (not physical/ psychological) a forensic psychologist would look at when doing a criminal profile?
■ employment status (e.g. employed or unemployed, type of job)
■ socioeconomic status (e.g. wealthy or poor) ■ marital status (e.g. single or married) ■ clothing preferences
■ the type of vehicle they own.
What would be the physical characteristics a forensic psychologist would look at when doing a criminal profile?
It usually includes gender, ethnicity, body build, left- or right-handedness
What would be the psychological characteristics a forensic psychologist would look at when doing a criminal profile?
These include intelligence level and personality characteristics.
What would be an example of signature behaviour?
After the offender has already killed their victim, they may torture or mutilate their victim (e.g. cut a symbol of some kind on the victim’s body or insert objects into their body), leave or display the body positioned in a particular way, or repeatedly use specific equipment (e.g. type of rope) in order to satisfy a need of some kind.