[IAFC main] [membership] [meetings] [reading]

IAFC - Ethical Guidelines


Contact: Ron Miller , Chair, IAFC Ethics Committee

Ethical Guidelines for Professional Conduct

All Members (students, affiliates, etc.) of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists shall observe the following guidelines in good faith:

1. Members shall conduct themselves in a professional manner.

2. Members shall not have a felony conviction, nor a conviction of a misdemeanor based on a felony charge. If a member is arrested on a criminal charge, membership will be suspended until the charge is resolved. If found guilty, membership will be terminated.

3. Members shall not have a conviction related to perjury or false testimony. If a member is arrested on such a charge, their membership will be suspended until the charge is resolved. If found guilty, membership will be terminated.

4. Members shall conduct all examinations and research in a generally accepted scientific manner.

5. Members shall assign appropriate credit for the work and ideas of others.

6. Members shall maintain an attitude of independence and impartiality in order to promote unbiased analyses and interpretations.

7.Members shall render opinions and conclusions strictly in accordance with the established facts and evidence.

8. Members shall not misrepresent their qualifications.

9. Members shall not misuse their positions as professionals for fraudulent purposes, or as a pretext for gathering information for any individual, group, organization, or government.

10. Members shall not practice outside their area of competence.

11. Members shall recognize an obligation to be knowledgeable regarding the methods and research in their areas of practice, to include the scientific limitations for all professional opinions and testimony. They shall also strive to make those limitations clear to others, and to refrain from leaving false impressions of their findings or certainty. 

[Note: This guideline is of particular importance for members whose expert opinions and testimony may encroach upon the “ultimate issue.” In such cases, members are admonished to refrain from couching their findings in terms of guilt or innocence, as these are legal issues for the court to decide. They are further admonished to refrain from assuming guilt or innocence in their analysis, unless these issues have been conceded.]

12. Members shall not use a position off authority to exploit or coerce students or subordinates.

13. Members shall recognize an obligation to maintain the ethical standards of the professional community, and carefully weigh the need to report unethical conduct that they have observed to the appropriate authorities when feasible.

[Note: This guideline is intended to recognize that IAFC members have an obligation to work toward reducing unethical conduct that exists in their sphere of influence. However, not all unethical behavior must be treated in the same fashion. Careful deliberation is required before action should be taken. The IAFC acknowledges that some ethical issues involve subjectivity; that the recognition and acknowledgment of unethical behavior may be treated as a training opportunity; and that reporting unethical behavior can involve consequences that outweigh any benefits of reporting. The IAFC also acknowledges that there are authorities who ignore such reports or who punish those who make such reports, rather than dealing with the offending parties. These and related factors may weigh in the balance with the respect to the decision of IAFC members to report unethical conduct.]


Sanctions for Violations of the Ethical Guidelines for Professional Conduct

There are three (3) types of sanctions for Applicants, Students, Affiliates, and Members of the IAFC who have been found to have violated the ethical guidelines set forth above:

Advisement: A written notification to the individual responsible for the violation to cease their unethical conduct. Two advisements result in an automatic warning.

Warning: A written warning to the individual responsible for the violation to cease their unethical conduct immediately or risk expulsion. Warnings will be made known to ABP membership. Two warnings result in automatic expulsion.

Expulsion: A written notification of expulsion from the Academy of Behavioral Profiling to the individual responsible for the violation. Expulsions will be made public.

The purpose of these sanctions is not necessarily to simply punish those responsible for unethical behavior, but to educate them, and give them an opportunity to make changes before more serious sanctions are levied. This provides a mechanism for identifying well intentioned individuals who err in judgment versus those whose ethics are at odds with those of the Academy.

Formal reports of ethics violations, with proper documentation, should be presented to the Ethics Committee within the Board of Directors. The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall investigate complaints regarding potential unethical conduct within the membership and then pass a recommendation along to the Board of Directors for an official vote.

No sanctions shall be given before those members involved are provided an opportunity to defend themselves.


© 1999 - 2012 IAFC; All rights reserved.