The American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP) strives to identify contemporary issues within the specialty of forensic psychology that warrant exposition or clarification. AAFP values the importance of providing broad-based guidelines and educational statements that are evidenced-based and established with robust consensus within our Academy. Forensic psychology is a diverse and ever-evolving specialty that intersects with an array of legal and policy related venues. This policy outlines the elements of and processes that guide development and dissemination of Position-Education Papers published by AAFP.

Policy Values

AAFP considers the diverse representation of viewpoints essential to development of Position- Education Papers. To accomplish this, AAFP embraces inclusivity by seeking participation from a broad constituency of members. AAFP values that those who develop its Position-Education Papers have different backgrounds and experiences that allow them to provide different perspectives.

Additionally, AAFP is considered the author of Position-Education Papers it adopts. AAFP Fellows involved in the drafting of Position-Education Papers can be recognized for their contributions by footnote if desired, but authorship is expressly the province of AAFP. Should AAFP elect not to publish proposed Position-Education Papers, then the drafting committee members may seek publication or presentation on their own, but no reference to AAFP is to be made.

Member Representation and Roles

All Position-Education Papers from AAFP will include oversight and/or participation from the following:

1. AAFP Board of Directors

a)  Provides governance oversight to the Position-Education Paper (PEP) Steering Committee,

b)  Assigns Fellows to the PEP Steering Committee,

c)  Reviews semi-annual reports submitted by the PEP Steering Committee and provides feedback and guidance as needed,

d)  Provides consultative support to the PEP Steering Committee and PEP Drafting Committee, if requested or required,

e)  Reviews all provisionally approved draft papers forwarded from the PEP Steering Committee,

f)  Approves with a majority vote to present the provisionally approved draft papers to AAFP Fellows for review and comment,

g)  Oversees AAFP Fellows’ vote for ratification upon final review and comment by AAFP members, and final approval by the PEP Drafting Committee and PEP Steering Committee, and

h)  Oversees the publication/posting/dissemination of ratified Position-Education Papers.

2. PEP Steering Committee

a)  Consists of between 3 and 7 Fellows who have been appointed by the AAFP Board of Directors for 6-year staggered terms based on consideration of a number of factors including, but not limited to, expertise and experience,

b)  Reviews proposals for Position-Education Papers,

c)  Identifies topics of consideration for Position-Education Papers,

d)  Appoints and solicits nominations for AAFP Fellows to serve on PEP Drafting Committees,

e)  Appoints Chairs of PEP Drafting Committees,

f)  Reviews all proposed Position-Education Paper drafts, and has the authority, by majority vote, to reject, provide recommendations for revision, or provisionally approve all Position-Education Paper drafts,

g)  Forwards provisionally approved Position-Education Paper drafts to the AAFP Board for its review and consideration, and

h)  Provides a semi-annual report to the AAFP Board, and an annual report to the AAFP membership, on PEP activity.

3. PEP Drafting Committee

a)  Serves as the primary drafter of any AAFP Position-Education Papers,

b)  May solicit input from experts within or outside AAFP in the development of a Position-Education Paper,

c)  By majority vote, presents the Position-Education Paper draft to the PEP Steering Committee,

d)  Upon final draft approval by the PEP Steering Committee and AAFP Board, seeks commentary and feedback from AAFP Fellows through a AAFP listserv notification and link to the Position-Education Paper draft,

e)  Considers adopting modifications and revisions suggested by AAFP Fellows and others,

f)  Submits final modified version of the Position-Education Paper, if applicable, to the PEP Steering Committee for review and approval,

g)  May not publicly present or publish any working Position-Education Paper documents without the authorization of the PEP Steering Committee and AAFP Board of Directors,

h)  Sets a timeline for project completion and provides updates to the PEP Steering Committee every three months, by way of the Committee chair, and

i)  Makes changes to members of the Committee as suggested by the Committee chair and approved by the PEP Steering Committee.

4. Position-Education Papers Approval Process

a)  Via the listserv, proposed Position-Education Papers are made available by the PEP Drafting Committee for review and commentary to all AAFP Fellows in good standing for a period of four weeks,

b)  Once the AAFP Board adopts what the Steering Committee has submitted as a final draft of the Position-Education Paper, the Board will make it available for a ratification vote by AAFP Fellows in good standing for a period of four weeks via a web-based system developed by the AAFP Board,

c)  AAFP members may abstain from voting on any Position-Education Paper, and

d)  For a Position-Education Paper to be adopted/ratified, there must be a voting quorum of one-third of AAFP Fellows in good standing, and it must be approved by 70% of the voting AAFP Fellows.

Conflicts of Interest

  1. With rare exceptions, members of the AAFP Board of Directors and PEP Steering Committee cannot serve on a PEP Drafting Committee.
  2. AAFP Board or PEP Steering Committee members can only serve on a PEP Drafting Committee with a majority vote approval from the AAFP Board. AAFP Board or PEP Steering Committee members being considered for serving on a PEP Drafting Committee may not vote to approve their participation on a PEP Drafting Committee, nor can they vote at any point in the review and approval process of the Position- Education Paper document other than as a member of the PEP Drafting Committee if so appointed.
  3. All Board, PEP Steering Committee, and/or PEP Drafting Committee members should refrain from participation in the Position-Education Paper process any time a conflict of interest is identified.