The probity of profiling: Opinions of Australian lawyers on the utility of criminal profiling in court

Jessica Woskett, Ian R. Coyle, Robyn Lincoln

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Criminal profiling and its investigative utility for policing have been examined at some length despite there being only an embryonic body of robust empirical research. The use of profiling knowledge in assisting the curial process in Australian courts, however, has had much less attention, although a few academics and legal commentators have debated its probative value. At present, profiling evidence is generally not accepted in this country, although some limited aspects have been introduced into court settings. Yet no empirical work has investigated the opinions of lawyers regarding its probative versus prejudicial nature. This preliminary study of lawyers in two states suggests that barristers and solicitors possess little knowledge about profiling; maintain that profiling is not accurate or valid and is of little value in adjudications; and subscribe to the view that the discipline of psychology is the most likely area of expertise to proffer profiling opinions. The following issues are considered: the need for greater training within the legal profession; the elements of profiling processes that might yield utility; and the necessity for further development of the field to generate the greater confidence that will be required if it is ever to be widely accepted in Australian courtrooms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-314
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Psychology and Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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