About this workshop:
The workshop addresses (i) the practice aspects of examining and reporting on survivors of rape for whom the courts have questions about their competency to testify, and (ii) the ethical and human rights issues inherent in this work. Among the various legal questions posed by the courts when complainants in sexual violence have possible intellectual disability or other mental disorders, are their competency to testify and the need for an intermediary. The presentation will detail the procedure involved in conducting these examinations, and answering the questions. However, the authors will also highlight the controversial issues that permeate this area of work, namely witnesses’ ability to take the oath or affirmation, the expectations of the court, and the degree of accommodation that is extended (or not extended) to witnesses with intellectual disability. In addition, mental health specialists undertaking these examinations need to consider their primary clinical and advocacy roles which can collide with the role as expert witness, and this dilemma will be engaged.
PsySSA Workshop Series 2023: Workshop 9: Assessing competency to testify in sexual violence survivors with intellectual disability
Meet our Presenters
Anthony Pillay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioural Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Principal Clinical Psychologist at Fort Napier Hospital. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the South African Journal of Psychology and his research areas include forensic psychology, women and children’s mental health and social justice issues. He received his post-doctoral training in Maternal and Child Health at Harvard University, and has been a Visiting Clinical Fellow at the Boston Children’s Hospital. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Mauritius, where he also conducts research, and he has published over a hundred papers in journals and books around the world. He is a Past President of the Psychological Society of South Africa.
Anne Kramers-Olen obtained her Masters degree in Social Science (Clinical Psychology) from the then named University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg campus). She completed her internship at the Midlands Hospital Complex in Pietermaritzburg during 1998 and is currently employed at Fort Napier Hospital, where she provides forensic mental health and psychosocial rehabilitation services. She has worked in the public and private sector, and has published papers in the area of ethics, forensics, intellectual disability and psychosocial rehabilitation. She is an associate editor of the South African Journal of Psychology and honorary lecturer at the Department of Behavioural Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal.