Ethics is a term used to describe the guiding philosophies and/or moral values of a group or an individual. Although ethics are by definition theoretical in nature, they are the underlying principles that help guide the conduct of any given society, profession, or individual.
A forensic psychologist usually performs in the limitations of the courtroom, incarceration facilities and other legal setting. It is significant to recall that the forensic psychologist is equally expected to be affirming for the prosecution as for the security attorney.
The ethical values for a forensic psychologist vary from those of a medical psychologist or other working psychologist since the forensic psychologist is not an advocate for the client and nothing the client says is guaranteed to be kept confidential.
For Example, a psychologist who has provided treatment to a criminal offender may be called on to testify at the parole board hearing; but in doing so, the psychologist is not providing a forensic service (as the primary purpose of therapy is to help the offender and not to assist a third-party decision maker), and the psychological testimony would be provided within the role of therapist-expert as opposed to a forensic expert whether or not such information is ultimately of use to a third-party decision maker is a separate issue from whether the work was undertaken for that purpose.
Ethical principles of Forensic Psychologist
Principle A: Beneficence & Non-Maleficence
Forensic Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm. In their professional actions, psychologists seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally and other affected persons, and the welfare of animal subjects of research.
When conflicts occur among psychologists’ obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve these conflicts in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm because psychologists’ scientific and professional judgments as well as actions may affect the lives of others.
They are to alert and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence. Psychologists strive to be aware of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work.
Principle B: Fidelity & Responsibility
Psychologists establish relationships of trust with whom they work. They are aware of their professional and scientific responsibilities to society and to the specific communities in which they work.
Psychologists uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their behaviour, and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm.
Psychologists consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best interests of those with whom they work. They are concerned about the ethical compliance of their colleagues’ scientific and professional conduct. Psychologists strive to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no compensation or personal advantage.
Principle C: Integrity
Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of psychology. In these activities psychologists do not steal, cheat or engage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation of facts.
Psychologists strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments. In situations where deception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, psychologists have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the use of such techniques.
Principle D: Justice
Psychologists recognize that fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to and benefit from the contributions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists.
Psychologists exercise reasonable judgment and take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices.
Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights & Dignity
Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. Psychologists are aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making.
Psychologists are aware and respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status, and consider these factors when working with members of such groups.
Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.
Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology
People are a little insecure about being treated from psychologists due to the fear of either revealing their darkest fears which they don’t want to share with anyone or not believing in strangers for withstanding their information.
Some of those issues in the field of forensic psychology include:
- Misuse of work
- The basis for scientific and professional judgments
- Delegating work to others
- Avoiding harm
- Multiple relationships
- Informed consent