Forensic Psychology ; Ethical and Legal issues

Forensic psychology involves investigations, research studies, assessments, consultation, the design and implementation of treatment programs and expert witness courtroom testimony.
The Project will require the preparation of an offender case study based assessment report, covering the application of psychology to the criminal justice system. The case study based analysis will encourage an integration of theoretical knowledge, empirical knowledge and critical application of learning to the real world.

Forensic psychology Case Study of a legal issue

Dylan is a 14-year old young male. He lives with his mother Mandy (35 years), step-father Tony (42 years) and two younger sisters Chanelle (2 years) and Sienna (12 months). Mandy and Tony began a relationship 4 years ago and Tony moved in to the house 3 years ago. Dylan also has sporadic contact with his biological father Jonny. Mandy states that Jonny will come to the house to take Dylan out ‘once in a blue moon.’ Jonny and Mandy had a short relationship prior to Dylan’s birth. They separated when Dylan was 4 years old. She outlines that Jonny was occasionally violent to her after misusing alcohol. She recalled that Dylan may have witnessed this on a couple of occasions.

Mandy describes Tony and Dylan often ‘clashing’ and frequent ‘shouting and screaming matches’ in the house between them. Sometimes, when Tony has reprimanded him, Dylan has punched walls, kicked doors and smashed things up in the house. (Even in his own bedroom). Mandy states that Dylan gets angry very quickly and is difficult to calm down. On one occasion, he threw the television set across the living room late at night. Mandy had told him to switch his games console off and go to bed. She is now fears reprimanding his behaviour due to fears of him becoming increasingly angry and violent.



Mandy states she often leaves the discipline in the family to Tony, whilst she cares for the needs of her younger daughters. On one occasion, Dylan grabbed a knife during an altercation in which Tony threatened to have Dylan put in to care if his behaviour continued. Although Dylan quickly put the knife down and exited to his bedroom. Mandy and Tony resorted to phoning the police. Tony convinced Mandy that Dylan needed ‘to be taught a lesson’ and to be shown clearly ‘that his behaviour was out of order.’

The police verbally reprimanded Dylan. They also told him that if they were called to the house again over a disturbance, they would arrest him and charge him.  Mandy and Dylan lived on their own for many years. After her separation from his father and they developed a close mother and son relationship. Mandy believes that Dylan saw himself as the ‘man of the house’ at this time. He believes that he now finds it difficult to follow Tony’s house rules because of this. Dylan believes that Tony is ‘too strict’ and ‘likes to lay down the law too much’. He feels that ‘he has no right to, as he’s not my real Dad.’ Tony states that Dylan ‘brings too much trouble to our door’. He also ‘sets a bad example to my girls.’ Their relationship is very not so good and they spend as little time together as possible.


1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of core concepts within forensic psychology theory and research.
2. Additionally, demonstrate a critical understanding of ethical and legal issues in forensic psychology.
3. Understand the working of the criminal justice system.
4. Lastly, critically evaluate the application of forensic psychology to offender assessment and treatment.

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