Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitSchool of Social Science, South Africa
OfferedSouth Africa First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Ms Tara Harris


The offender is analysed as influenced by multiple systems. Analyses refer to the bio- and psychosocial aetiology of criminal behaviour, classification systems, intervention measures and crime reduction. Attention is paid to life-span development, behavioural disorders, learning and situational risk factors. The relationship between crime and mental disorders are explored, focusing on mentally disordered defendants and offenders, criminal responsibility and risk assessments. The course concludes with psychosocial analyses of specific types of criminal behaviour, for instance, serial murder, pyromania, hostage-taking, domestic violence, sexual offences, substance abuse, and witch-purging.


The objectives lie within five inter-related bands. These concern factual information, sources and resources, conceptual definitions, academic debates, and analytic communication skills.

Upon successful completion of this unit, learners will be able to demonstrate knowledge of and familiarity with the following types of information, academic perspectives and skills:

  1. understand the study field of criminal behaviour in South Africa
  2. apply knowledge of criminal behaviour to particular contexts
  3. demonstrate the ability to critically assess criminal behaviour risks
  4. critically appraise the impact of criminal behaviour on the rights of individuals and that of a just society
  5. demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation when studying criminal behaviour
  6. use appropriate science and technology ethically, effectively and responsibly when dealing with criminal behaviour without harming society, the environment or individuals
  7. work and communicate with others as a member of a multi-disciplinary team to deal effectively with criminal behaviour.


Assignment (2000 words): 35%
two Class presentations: (1000 words each): 30%
Exam (two hours): 35%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


ATS2463, ATS3463, AZA2463