Psychologist’s role does not end with the assessment and intervention of the subject, can not forget the importance of proper psychological preparation of the report. This is the last phase of the psychological process and we must know structure and write the information presentation face either the own patient or client or the entity that requires it.
In the field of social psychology clinic or subsequent report it is not the last object of the process but as the assessment and intervention have its greatest purpose, however the report can be requested by the patient alike.
However, the legal or forensic psychology evaluation process ends with the communication of the results either orally, in writing or both.
Then we will define the expert report and detail its considerations, features and present a possible model structure.
What is the expert report?
The work of forensic psychologist ends with the translation of its assessment to a report submitted to the authority that requested it, this is what we call psychological expert or psychological expertise. Since the expert report is the summary of the work performed it is essential to be worded in a properly structured and under a number of considerations.
The expert report or opinion (from a judicial point) is a written document, signed and dated the psychological expert presents its findings and conclusions on the facts evaluated. It is issued by order of the judicial authorities and the expert shall confirm verbally.
10 Considerations for proper preparation of the expert report.
- The language must be clear and simple. It has to be understood by non-technical professionals who are specialists in behavioral sciences. It should not contain too many psychological or scientific technicalities.
- The expert must explain and answer a clear, concise and specific questions asked by the judge or court form.
- The report should contain verifiable evidence and defensible
- They have to avoid inaccuracies in the statements.
- Do not include irrelevant to the cause issues.
- It must be consistent and defensible.
- Do not include value judgments or personal opinions.
- Should not rule on the attribution of the subject. This part is the exclusive decision of the judiciary. The expert should only identify possible mental disorders that may affect the subject’s capacities.
- Never determine the guilt or innocence of the subject. Not the same that the judicial expert work.
- Do not report a pretext to display the knowledge of the subject or to flaunt wealth of vocabulary.
Features expert report.
There are two main features to consider for successful communication of the results by the psychological expert technician, the expert report is:
It is a scientific paper (Fernandez-Ballesteros, 2007) that meets the following criteria:
It is the result of a tight process through which standards have been obtained results than a (psycho-legal) technical considerations that respond to the lawsuit arising
The survey process was conducted by an expert, forensic psychologist who assumes responsibility for all his actions.
It should contain enough to be replicable or contrastratable by other reviewers, like any other scientific research data.
It is a legal document.
You must be practiced with constitutional guarantees and in accordance with the procedural laws. In Spain under the Law of Criminal Procedure.
Provides a basis for judicial decisions, ie works as evidence.
Other features of the psychological expert:
It is archivable and durable opinion that provides a basis for comparing the results of the evaluation at other times.
It serves as a reference point on a situation or particular moment in the life of a person involved in legal proceedings. It is a cross evaluation, as a rule, except that longitudinal monitoring required.
Completion and closing of the diagnostic process where the results, guidelines and judicially required assessments are communicated.
Structure of the psychological expert.
There is no consensus on the type model expert report but the Law of Criminal Procedure of Spain (Article 478) recommends that these aspects be included:
Description of the person or thing object thereof, in the state or the way in which it is located.
Detailed list of all operations performed by the experts and their outcome.
Conclusions that in view of the data inquiries made by the experts, according to the principles and rules of science or art.
In addition, the psychological expert report shall contain:
Questions or issues that he previously raised the expert.
helpful responses expert.
technical elements that have been used to arrive at these answers.
Structure model expert report.
The report should opened with a header that reflects its subject matter clearly: forensic psychological report. From here it will be divided into a number of sections:
- Expert identification data and evaluated. They are the data identifying the technical psychologist responsible for the psychological expert opinion. Name, membership number and details of the procedure and the court to which the document is provided. Date of receipt of the order, date and place of the data evaluation and evaluated.
- Reason for the report. Here the purpose of the report will be collected and be quoted verbatim as requested in the judicial office or claimed by the customer.
- Methodology. all techniques that have been used for the evaluation of the subject (interviews, tests, test, observational records, etc.) and scores on each of the tests are described. It is advisable to make a brief description of the technique used collecting scientific reviews to support the use of it, you can also collect the indices of reliability and validity and significance of the scales for proper interpretation.
- Exhibition of the information gathered. This section contains several subsections:
- Family background. Family of origin and acquired psychopathological problems concerning the family and criminal records of family members. Also we highlight the current family relationship.
- Personal history. Children and psychobiographical, socialization process and behavioral disorders, educational history, criminal and prison history, grade ratings, etc. Development
- Toxic habits, if any. Age of onset in substance, consequences, stints in rehab, relapse, motivation for change, prevention skills, etc.
- Clinic history. List of relevant medical illnesses and diagnosed psychiatric disorders.
psychopathological assessment: attitude subject to evaluation, clinical impression, mental state, personality.
- Exhibition of the results of the tests applied. You can choose to list the evidence in the metolodogía section and here give way to the detailed explanation of the results and their interpretation.
- Psycholegal or forensic discussion. This is the main part of the report because that is where the expert reasoning justifies and technical considerations accordance with scientific basis. In this section the information obtained by assessing the data obtained depending on the demand psicolegal discussed. inconsistencies found are discussed. The psychologist has to be clear that only has the certainty concerning the facts and never absolute certainty. It will be assessed here on whether an expert opinion seems some kind of disorder that affects their abilities or was at the time of the crimes in their full mental faculties. Is advised in this section seek to make the slightest mention of legal terms and use plain language.
- expert conclusions. Numbered they exposed and comprehensible manner all findings without including new data. They will be as brief and concise as possible conclusions. It is advisable to contact the requesting authority with the relevant treatment to it:
Example: The undersigned expert has written the contents of this report impartially and in accordance with his knowledge with. With all respect to SSª issues the following conclusions:
- Date and signature. The psychological expert must always sign the report foresnse name, membership number, date of preparation or issuance of the report (which determines the temporal and contextual validity). It is advisable here to add an additional clause to safeguard cross-cutting expert. It would be something like:
Note- This report is the result of a psychological evaluation referred only to the specific circumstances of the context in which it was requested therefore not be used in cases or different times this context. If a substantial change should occur in any of the circumstances considered proceed further evaluation.
Remember that it is only an example model. If you want to leave your clarifications and contributions in this respect you can do so leaving your comment and expand the article together.