AZA3463 - Criminal behaviour in South Africa: A psychosocial approach - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Science


Ms Chiara Keune

Unit guides


South Africa

  • First semester 2017 (Day)


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.


Within semester assessment: 65% + Exam: 35%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


ATS2463, ATS3463, AZA2463