One major ethical issue when conducting forensic evaluations is informed consent. Ideally, at the onset of an evaluation, the examinee should be given notice on the nature, purpose, and limits of his/her confidentiality. Informed consent ought to be obtained where necessary and if the examinee is not competent to give consent, the evaluator must follow the rules depending on the jurisdiction (Kalmbach & Lyons, 2006). If informed consent is not provided, the outcome is that the examinee has grounds to sue the evaluator. Another ethical issue is confidentiality.
Despite the fact that forensic psychologists may view non-confidentiality as a general matter, respect and right of privacy is a major concern. Even though actions like a court order limit confidentiality for the examinee, forensic psychologists must apply rules of informed consent such as informing examinee the absence of confidentiality (Kalmbach & Lyons, 2006). By failing to observe confidentiality, the examinee rights could be compromised. Finally, honesty and striving for objectivity is a major ethical issue. Forensic psychologists should ensure honesty and objectivity when conducting evaluations. For example, a forensic psychologist should not let personal opinions or cultural beliefs hinder an objective evaluation. When there is no objectivity, the outcome would be a flawed evaluation that can harm the parties involved (Kalmbach & Lyons, 2006).
Competent means that a forensic psychologist has the required education, skills, training, and work experience. One should also be conversant with the legal standards of forensic psychology depending on oneÆs jurisdiction, and the rules that govern the field of forensic psychology depending on the specific area of forensic psychology one plans to practice such as in mental health (Kalmbach & Lyons, 2006). When one is competent, he/she will conduct an evaluation in an informed, honest, and objective manner. A competent evaluator will apply all the rules of the forensic field based on the legal standards of the jurisdiction one is practicing. This influences an evaluation by ensuring that the results of an evaluation have a high degree of accuracy. One becomes competent by studying (conducting research), participating in evaluations, and learning from other competent evaluators (Kalmbach & Lyons, 2006).
- Kalmbach, K. C., & Lyons, P. M. (2006). Ethical issues in conducting forensic evaluations. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 2(3), 261-290.