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Specialized Forensic Services: Types & Description

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Instructor: Tisha Collins Batis

Tisha is a licensed real estate agent in Texas. She holds bachelor's in legal studies and a master's degree in criminal justice.

Forensic services often include specialized roles that bring unique techniques and approaches. See this demonstrated through three common types of forensic fields: accounting, psychology, and dentistry. Updated: 01/18/2022

Specialized Forensic Services

Bob was suspected of embezzling millions of dollars from the company he worked for. He was under investigation and the company fired him. Unfortunately, his wife filed for divorce and took their two small children. A custody dispute ensued and his older child was evaluated by a psychologist. Something Bob's child said during the evaluation led the psychologist to believe that Bob may have murdered someone, and law enforcement was contacted to investigate. Bob's basement has now been dug up and human remains found. An investigation will have to be conducted to determine who the remains belong to and how the person died. Bob has been having a horrible month and is learning firsthand what forensic services specialists, such as forensic accountants, forensic psychologists, and forensic odontologists, do.

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  • 0:00 Specialized Forensic Services
  • 0:56 Forensic Accounting
  • 2:09 Forensic Psychology
  • 3:33 Forensic Odontology
  • 5:01 Lesson Summary
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Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting involves applying normal accounting techniques and concepts to situations where a legal problem exists. In contrast, a tax accountant will apply those same techniques and concepts to situations where a tax problem or question must be answered. Both accountants are still accountants, they just work in different areas.

Consider Bob again. He was suspected of embezzling millions of dollars from the company he worked for. As an investigation is conducted, a forensic accountant will look into the bank and company records to determine if embezzlement actually occurred. Bob's own bank records, assets, and financial activity are scrutinized to determine if he's done something illegal.

Forensic accountants also work their magic in other areas. They investigate fraud, look for evidence of stock market manipulations, and estimate losses and damages for companies. Their expertise is useful in all these areas, and forensic accountants must have the education to show that they can perform these duties. A forensic accountant for the FBI must have an undergraduate degree either in accounting or with a minimum number of hours in accounting, as well as strong communication and analytical skills.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology the use of psychology in the criminal justice system. This is not limited to a defendant but can be used in profiling, research, victim assistance, and law enforcement training. A forensic psychologist evaluates individuals to determine their degree of involvement in the legal problem in question. Clinical skills such as interviewing, report writing, clinical assessment, and verbal communication are required of a forensic psychologist. Additionally, a forensic psychologist will study the mental processes and behaviors of the individual they are assessing.

Remember Bob? During the custody dispute with his wife, his oldest child was evaluated by a forensic psychologist. That psychologist would have evaluated the child, studying the child's mental processes and behaviors. The forensic psychologist would have looked for clues that would help determine if anything abnormal was going on in the child's home or if either parent was better equipped than the other to have custody of the children.

Forensic psychology is used in many areas. It can be used in criminal cases, especially if a defendant is pleading not guilty to charges by reason of insanity. Additionally, a forensic psychologist may screen law enforcement applicants, counsel crime victims, and evaluate intervention and treatment programs for offenders. For a psychologist to be eligible to perform work as a forensic psychologist, a doctorate degree along with two years of specific professional experience is usually required.

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