Practice Documents and Resources Policy and Procedures
(revised 09 March 2023)
I. Purpose of the Policy
The American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP) has a long tradition of active collaboration and peer support. The AAFP Board believes that sharing of forms or practice-related documents, such as interview tools or sample protective orders, could provide valuable resources to its membership. The Board therefore created the Practice Documents Committee (PDC) to develop and oversee the Practice Documents Repository (PDR). This policy was created to clarify how the PDC and PDR processes are operationalized.
II. Practice Documents Committee: Role and Function
The PDC comprises the PDC Chair and 3-5 additional AAFP Fellows who oversee the development and maintenance of the PDR. Specifically, the PDC oversees the 1) submission and review of documents, 2) posting and utilization of documents, and 3) maintenance of individual documents and the PDR as a whole.
The PDC aims to obtain documents from a wide range of Fellows covering the breadth of practice areas in forensic psychology. The PDC neither endorses nor recommends documents for practice and does not consult with Fellows on clinical practice or the selection of specific documents, although it will respond to questions or issues that arise from Fellows with respect to the PDR. The PDC strives to operate within the parameters established by the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2017) and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology (APA, 2013).
PDC members serve 2-year appointments that are staggered to ensure operational continuity. PDC members meet at least quarterly and as needed to ensure timely review of submissions and maintenance of the PDR. Vacancies will be filled in a manner aligned with similar procedures for other AAFP committees.
III. Practice Documents Repository: Processes
a. Practice Document Submission Instructions
Submissions to the PDR will be accepted from current AAFP Fellows only.
All submissions should be made via email to ForensicPracticeDocs@gmail.com. The practice document should be attached in portable document format (PDF) and should not contain the contributor’s identifying information. Please include the following in your email:
- Title of form/document
- Brief explanation of form/document use
The PDC also will receive suggestions from Fellows regarding relevant publicly available documents (e.g., appendices of journal articles) for which the PDC could seek permission from the author/owner to include in the PDR.
The PDC Chair will confirm receipt of submissions/suggestions within 3 days.
b. Practice Document Review
The PDC chair will email the practice document to all PDC members and assign two committee members who have expertise in the content area/focus of the submission to complete structured reviews of the document. As needed, review from current AAFP Fellows who are not PDC members will be sought with unanimous agreement by the PDC.
Reviews will be completed within four weeks of assignment using a structured format.
Reviews will focus primarily on the document’s content, with particular scrutiny regarding whether it aligns with the standards of practice and minimum requirements outlined in the Ethics Code, Specialty Guidelines, and other authoritative sources in forensic psychology. Consideration of other issues also will be made, such as the document’s readability, grammar/spelling, and comprehensiveness. Submissions largely redundant with an existing document(s) in the PDR may be deemed duplicative and therefore unnecessary.
Submission reviews will be discussed at quarterly PDC meetings and all PDC members will vote regarding inclusion. The review process may be adjusted over time (e.g., submissions may be screened by a pair of members to identify submissions to be put forward for review by the whole committee). As needed, the PDC may consult with other Fellows when considering submissions outside the expertise of PDC members. Submissions with majority PDC support will be included in the PDR. Contributors will be notified of the decision within one week of the vote. Submissions without majority PDC support may be returned to the contributor(s) for resubmission within four weeks, with revision to be guided by reviewers’ comments.
c. Repository Content and Organization
A reference document will be maintained that lists the author(s) and title/focus of each artifact in the PDR. Practice documents may be grouped by type and/or content focus roughly aligned with relevant topic areas of the current version of the ABFP Recommended Reading List.
Practice documents could include templates for communications with courts and attorneys to address routinely encountered scenarios (e.g., response to subpoenas and court orders) as well as rarer or more challenging ethical/legal/clinical scenarios. Other examples of practice documents could include those with particular relevance to diversity, bias, and cultural considerations; release of information forms; informed consent forms; interview guidelines/forms; practice checklists or decision trees; deidentified written reports, including psychological test results; and spreadsheets supporting practice management and growth.
Inclusion of documents in the PDR must not violate applicable law or ethical guidelines and will be included only with the written permission of the document’s author(s).
The organizational approach and/or group areas of the PDR will be revised as needed and may comprise:
- Communications addressing ethical, legal, and other professional issues and duties
- Competence to Proceed
- Other Criminal Competencies (e.g., to waive rights/be sentenced/proceed pro se)
- Mental State at the Time of the Offense
- Death Penalty
- Violence Risk Assessment, Quasi-Criminal Commitment, Threat Assessment
- Civil Commitment & Civil Competencies
- Personal Injury and Civil Damages
- Worker’s Compensation/Disability Evaluation
- Discrimination (ADA) & Educational Access (IDEA)
- Child Custody and Parenting
- Child Abuse/Neglect
- Juvenile Justice
- Treatment in Forensic Contexts
d. Repository Access
Current AAFP Fellows will have access to the reference document bibliography and PDFs of all practice documents in the PDR (login required).
e. Repository Maintenance
The PDR is actively maintained by the AAFP. The PDC strives to curate practice documents in a manner responsive to several factors, such as relevance, availability, datedness, new revisions, psychological science, legal rulings, updated standards, new guidelines, your concerns, and low utilization by PDR users. Therefore, documents are posted with expiration dates. Within six months of expiration date, the PDC will review the document and make decisions about assigning a new expiration date as well as replacing or removing the document from the PDR. The PDC also will remove documents immediately to address the aforementioned reasons or at the request of document’s author(s).
IV. Disclaimer to be posted on AAFP PDC/PDR website:
The information on this page is offered by the AAFP (hereinafter referred to as “we” and “our”) exclusively for educational reasons. The content does not constitute psychological, risk-management, professional practice, or legal advice. Our educational information does not replace the need for seeking services and opinions from qualified mental-health or risk-management professionals. We endeavor to carefully curate the information contained herein, but the appropriate use of this repository is to be governed by professionals and the standards, rules, responsibilities, and expectations under which they practice. Our postings are not practice recommendations, guidelines, or standards. The content neither carries our endorsement nor represents our policy. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, validity, usefulness, reliability, or admissibility, of any of our postings contained herein. Your use of this repository as an author/content contributor, end user, or any other role is exclusively at your own risk, and we will not assume any liability to you for damage or loss of any kind. Our repository includes materials and documents for educational purposes that are in the public domain, are properly cited, or have the author’s consent to be posted. If your use of the repository and its information surpasses “fair use” as defined in 17 U.S. Code § 107, then you could be required to obtain the author’s permission and should assess your need for legal counsel.