Crime and its consequences is a continuing social issue that affects everyone. But why do some people commit crime while others do not, and what are the effects of crime on victims and the wider community? These are the kinds of questions that are of concern to those involved in criminal psychology, as well as those responsible for preventing and investigating crime and dealing with those who break the law.
This course examines the way in which psychology helps us to understand criminal behaviour and how it may be applied to aspects of the Criminal Justice System (CJS).
Learners will examine how different psychological perspectives have been applied to explain criminal behaviour and aspects of victims’ and others’ perceptions of crime. They will examine the research methods employed, including the ethical issues involved, and have the opportunity to apply these research methods to investigating crime issues. During the course learners will learn how to design and run a psychological study and apply appropriate statistical analysis skills to data. Learners will apply Level 3 statistical skills to their own data and must be aware that this is an essential skill in psychology. This will help learners to understand the influence psychological studies have had on our understanding of behaviour in the CJS, including eyewitness testimony, courtroom behaviour, jury deliberation and the treatment of offenders.
The knowledge and skills gained during this course provide an excellent start for learners who wish to pursue criminal psychology further by giving them a basic understanding of the investigative, scientific nature of psychology and how it applies to crime. It forms the foundation for exploring forensic psychology and criminology.