home
 

D E S C R I P T I O N

The Swiss Society of Psychology and Law (SSPL) is composed of psychologists who operate professionally, research and teach in the field at the interface of Law and Psychology. The SSLP encourages ongoing training of its members as well as collaboration with professionals from the legal world.

All its members are licensed by the Swiss Federation of Psychologists (FSP) of which the SSPL is itself a chartered component. Members are held to the rules and regulations of the FSP and must further abide by the more stringent ethical code of the SSPL. 

Our society's complexity requires specialists in legal and forensic psychology capable of bridging the understanding of human problems and the constraints of the legal system. These specialists possess the necessary knowledge of the mutual influences of human behaviour and the web of juridical rules that regulate society as a whole. 

The forensic psychologist is interested in many social phenomena, such as: 

  • deviant behaviour by adults and juveniles
  • violence as an expression of psychological problems and criminal behaviour
  • dangerousness and its prediction
  • sentencing and commitments of all types
  • physical, sexual and psychological abuse of adults and children
  • the credibility of victims and witnesses
  • issues pertaining to competence and the exercise of civil rights, as well as the modalities of their legal suspension
  • situations of divorce (guardianship, visitation rights, personal relations, etc.) and adoption
  • competency, the exercise of individual civil rights, and their suspension
  • forensic evaluations, psychological testing and/or treatment of all persons in contact with the judicial world
  • the inner working of organisations, such as the police, the courts and the pre/post trial institutions


SSPL members work in various fields of activity as:

  • forensic mental health experts serving the judicial system by performing evaluations on adults and minors at the request of the courts at all levels of jurisdiction. Amongst others, these evaluations include, in the civil judicial sphere, reporting on issues of guardianship and custody and visitation rights; and in the criminal justice system evaluating issues such as criminal responsibility, prediction of dangerousness, victim credibility, intellectual, neuropsychological and psychopathological dysfunctions, and the assessment of recourse to court-ordered case management and treatment.
    Evaluations are also required with regard to disability claims, the capacity to serve in the military, as well as the examination of individuals' security; within the administrative realm as well, in particular regarding the right to hold a firearm permit. Evaluations for the motor vehicle departments require that an assessment be made of the capacity to operate a vehicle and respect the various safety and driving codes.
  • clinicians/therapists, in institutions or in private practice, working with and reporting on adult and juvenile clients who are court-ordered to submit to treatment or other forms of social control
  • consultants providing analysis and advice in numerous institutions related to the judicial world, sentencing authorities, child protection services, etc., as well as in prevention programs and legislative task forces.
  • risk assessment in schools or companies, or when there are military or law enforcement deployment, management of violent incidents in institutions
  • legal psychologists with children and adolescents to conduct evaluations with juvenile offenders or victims. Other activities in this sector concern child protection, prevention, carrying out judicial socio-educational decisions, advising youth courts, supervising social workers and health care professionals in youth detention facilities or rehabilitation institutions
  • therapists for victims or mediators between victims and offenders. Many professional groups operate in this sector, in which psychologists contribute to the care of women victims of physical and/or sexual violence
  • teachers in the continued education of psychologists, social workers, physicians, professionals working in the prison system at large, lawyers, judges, etc.
  • research scientists involved in national and international projects. For, researchers evaluate the quality of forensic evaluations, examine the reactions and needs of victims of crime, compare different types of offences, analyse judicial decisions from a psychological standpoint, etc.