Assignment 2: RA: Ethical Issues During Forensic Assessments

Assignment 2: RA: Ethical Issues during Forensic Assessments

When conducting forensic assessments, it is  important for forensic mental health professionals to have a thorough  understanding of the following:

  • Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct Including 2010 Amendments
  • Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology: Adopted by APA Council of Representatives

Ethical issues are commonly present when  completing forensic assessments. Read the scenario below and discuss the  ethical issues therein.

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Dr. Smith was contacted by the District  County Attorney’s office to evaluate Mr. Doe as part of a sexually  violent predator civil commitment hearing. Dr. Smith agreed to complete  the evaluation and contacted the prison facility, where Mr. Doe was  being held, to schedule an appointment.

Upon arrival at the prison, Mr. Doe’s  attorney indicated that he wanted to be present for the interview and  psychological testing. Dr. Smith agreed, and they proceeded with the  interview. During the interview, while discussing his sex offense  history, Mr. Doe admitted to offending against two adult females. He  also reported offending against his three-year-old daughter. He  indicated that his relationship with his wife, although rocky at times,  is generally supportive. Upon inquiry, he reported a history of domestic  abuse, which was never reported. He explained that due to his arrest  and incarceration, his wife has had to find a job to be able to continue  to afford their housing. He reported that he previously worked as a  general maintenance worker at a local trucking company. He explained  that he cheated on his wife with a coworker, who has since stopped all  communication. He indicated that this coworker used to visit and send  him letters and money when he was first “locked up.” He reported that he  was angry that she ceased all communication, without explanation, and  spoke of her with rage and hostility. He said, “If I ever see her again,  I’ll kill her.”

During the administration of the  psychological tests, Mr. Doe asked to use the restroom once and was  provided another five-minute break. There was a great deal of background  noise throughout the interview and administration. On two occasions,  Mr. Doe asked his attorney how he should answer the question. He was  advised, and he answered as such. Upon the completion of testing, Dr.  Smith thanked Mr. Doe and his attorney for their time and indicated that  he would see them in court.

If released, Mr. Doe will return to his home  with his wife and two daughters. He has reported to the prison staff  that he will also return to his previous job and may enroll in  vocational classes at an area community college.


As a forensic mental health professional, discuss the ethical issues in the scenario. Refer to the following resources:

  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of
                               psychologists and code of conduct including 2010 amendments.
    Retrieved from
  • American Psychology-Law Society. (2011). Specialty guidelines for forensic
                               psychology: Adopted by APA Council of Representatives [Unofficial
    version]. Retrieved from

Write a 5- to 6-page report in a Microsoft Word document addressing the following:

  • Identify the appropriate APA ethical code(s) and the specialty guidelines that may apply to this scenario.
  • Examine the limits of confidentiality. How might those limits be affected by some of the information contained in the scenario?
  • Discuss specific circumstances in the case study in which there might be a duty to report or duty to warn.
  • Explain the limitations of what the evaluator can and cannot say.
  • Discuss the implications of the third-party observer to the overall evaluation.

Your report should rely upon at least four  scholarly resources from the professional literature that are cited in  APA format. The literature may include the Argosy University online  library resources; relevant textbooks; peer-reviewed journal articles;  and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or  institutions (.edu, and .gov).

Submission Detail

  •   Assignment Component
    Max Points
    Identify   the appropriate APA ethical code(s) and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic   Psychologists that appear within this scenario.CO   1

    APA   ethical code(s) and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists   identified are accurate for the scenario and cover all codes and guidelines   present in the scenario. Specific examples of how they appear in the scenario   are identified and completely explained.
    /   52 pts
    Examine   the limits to confidentiality.

    CO   1

    Limits   to confidentiality are accurately identified and specific to the scenario.   Specific examples and references to research are used to support ideas.
    /   32 pts
    Discuss   duty to report and/or duty to warn.

    CO   1

    Specific   circumstances in which there is the duty to report and/or warn in the case   example are accurately identified. All instances of appropriateness for duty   to report and/or warn are discussed.

    /   28 pts
    Explain   the limitations of what the evaluator can and cannot say

    CO   1 and 2

    Limitations   of what evaluator can and cannot say are accurately identified and clearly   explained. Specific examples and references to research are used to support   ideas. All limitations that are appropriate to the scenario are presented and   thoroughly explained.

    /   40 pts
    Discuss   the implications of the third-party observer to the overall evaluation.

    CO   1

    Discussion   of the implications of third-party observers is clear, complete, and   thoughtful. Specific examples of how it impacts the evaluation and references   to research are used to support ideas.
    /   28 pts
    Write in a clear, concise, and organized manner;   demonstrate ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of   sources; display accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

    Writing   is generally clear and in an organized manner. It demonstrates ethical   scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources; and   generally displays accurate spelling, grammar, punctuation. Errors are few,   isolated, and do not interfere with reader’s comprehension.
    /   20 pts

    / 200 pts

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