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Criminology and Forensic Studies

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This discipline area provides expert knowledge to deal effectively with crime, victimisation and conflict and to promote a democratic and just society with a human rights ethos as set out in the South African Constitution and Bill of Rights and other relevant international legal frameworks and treaties. It introduces students to biological, psychological and social dimensions of criminal behaviour and explores the application of these approaches to an understanding of the diversity of criminal behaviour. The critical evaluation and application of theories to different categories of crime and criminal behaviour provide students with the opportunity to explore and analyse individual and social influences on criminal behaviour. Not only is the multidimensional nature of conflict studied but analyses refer also to the functioning of the major tiers and role-players of criminal justice recognising the importance of judicial pluralism together with emerging forms of justice such as restorative justice. Current scholarly debates surrounding the workings and outcomes of the system and its component parts are analysed and evaluated and theories and perspectives of punishment, justice and crime reduction are appraised providing a critical understanding and specialised knowledge of the evolution, elements, aims and applications of punishment within a local and international human rights framework, focusing also on the gendering of crime and victimisation and minimum standards for child justice reform as well as structural interdicts to ensure state delivery. The importance of the crime case study method is furthermore highlighted with the presentation of material to the criminal justice system informed by scientific rigour. Analyses refer inter alia to the credibility of behavioural evidence, pre-sentence evaluations and victim impact statements.


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