We all must have heard of psychologists. But most people don't exactly know who
they are and what their exact work is. And even if people know who psychologists
are, they have no idea about forensic psychologists. If any layman is asked
about what is forensic psychology, most people will be blank. So let's get an
idea about, What is Forensic Psychology?
The word forensic comes from the Latin term forensis, which means forum. In
ancient Rome, forum was the place where people used to gather and resolve their
disputes. Psychology is the science of behaviour and mental processes.
So, forensic psychology is the application of psychology in legal settings. It
is the combined application of psychology and law. The application of psychology
in the criminal justice system.
Now let's discuss in detail about the role of forensic psychologists.
Role of Forensic Psychologists
There are many different types of roles which are performed by Forensic
Most of them have been enlisted below:
- Forensic psychologists can give expert testimony in court regarding the
competency of a person to stand trial, they can assess and give testimony in
court regarding the fact that whether the offender has committed the offence
due to his/her mental incapacitation, whether the person needs treatment
- They can assist the police in investigation by interviewing some
suspects and since they have knowledge of human psychology and law it
becomes beneficial for the investigation process, they are expert in using
different forensic psychological tools which again fast pace the
investigation process. They work in forensic psychology division of the
forensic science labs.
- They try to understand the mindset of criminals, the reason behind
commission of a crime, try to assess their risk for recidivism.
- Forensic psychologists work in prison settings to assess a prisoner's
mental state, to provide counselling, for their rehabilitation and reintegration in
- They design correctional programs, rehabilitation programs,
- They can do psychological autopsy of the deceased in any criminal case.
- Forensic psychologists carry out researches in various domains of
- They conduct child forensic interviewing in cases related to child abuse
and other serious matters.
- They can be a member of the juvenile justice board, can work for
rehabilitation and counselling of juveniles, provide counselling services in
- Evaluate child custody in case of parental separation.
- They can work in NGOs for the betterment, counselling of aggrieved parties.
- Forensic psychologists can work as victim advocates.
- Lawyers often consult them for different cases.
- Many of them work in academic settings as professors, lecturers,
research assistant etc.
Forensic Psychologists and their role in the Indian setup
Many of the roles discussed above are still not applicable in the Indian setup.
In India it is still a new and emerging field. Most people and organizations are
not well informed about forensic psychologists and their role in the criminal
justice system. Like, for example, in correctional settings only, very few
psychologists are hired and hiring of forensic psychologists is even much more
less. But since forensic psychologists are very much aware about the law and
they specialize in this areas so their involvement will bring a great change in
the world of prison and prisoners. The condition of prisoners will improve.
So, it is the duty of those who are becoming forensic psychologists to increase
the awareness of this field among the general people, among different government
and private organizations, to make others understand their role and importance.
They have to pave the way for themselves and increase their involvement in the
criminal justice system. Involvement of forensic psychologists will surely be a
huge contribution to the world of criminal justice system.
Written By: Sohini Basu