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Medico-Legal Reports

Care & Contact (Custody & Access) Assessment

Dr. Mark Tunbridge and Jandre vd Merwe work together as an assessment team in cases where there is a complex dispute involving minor children. This may involve ascertaining which parental home would serve as primary residence for the child/children following a divorce. Or the evaluation may be related to other family concerns and problems, such as the adoption or fostering of children, violence, sexual or physical abuse or psychiatric illness in a parent, or any other issue which requires evaluation of parenting capacity and the psychological wellbeing of children.

A Care & Contact (Custody & Access) assessment typically involves the following:

  • Psycho-diagnostic assessment of the child/children
  • Psychological profiling of the parents/caregivers
  • Parenting Capacity assessment of the parents/caregivers
  • Home visits
  • Consultations with collateral sources

Dr. Tunbridge has specialist training and experience (Canada 2004/5) in child Care & Contact (Custody & Access) evaluation with severely dysfunctional parents and families. 

Together with our team, Jandre vd Merwe and Dr Tunbridge provide pre- and post-divorce counselling to all family members, to assist them in optimally adjusting to their new family structures. In these complex family situations, it is especially helpful to have a team of psychologists working together. Many of our associates are therefore also specialists in divorce and other family adjustment matters, and form co-therapy teams where useful. Our multi-disciplinary approach has been especially structured to cater for the assessment, treatment and management of complex family situations, to ensure best outcomes.

Both Jandre vd Merwe and Dr. Tunbridge have worked extensively with child abuse in clinical practice and can assess young victims for harm and treatment planning, as well as their family circumstances, and their adult offenders. Many of our associate psychologists also have specialist training and experience in child abuse matters.

Clinical Neuropsychological Assessment

Experts in clinical neuropsychology assess whether a head or other forms of serious injury have resulted in psychological deficits severe enough to support a civil court claim. In many cases, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may result following serious motor vehicle accidents (MVA). Legal damage claims might also be sought after physical assault, for instance, or injury through negligence.

Dr. Tunbridge received specialist training in clinical neuropsychology through Sherbrooke-Psychiatry, Royal Columbian Hospital, Vancouver, Canada (2003). He is registered as a Full Member (Reg. No. 602) with the South African Clinical Neuropsychological Association (SACNA). Many of our associate psychologists also have specialist training in clinical neurospsychology. For further information on the complex field of clinical neuropsychology, you can visit SACNA’s website by clicking on the following link:www.sacna.co.za.

Child & Youth Forensics

Medico-legal evaluation may be necessary where young people have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused. In these cases both the young person, the victim, as well as the perpetrator/s of the abuse, are assessed by psychologists. Our expert testimony and evidence is provided to the court, which, together with other information, is used to decide on the necessary treatment, management and legal consequences of each specific case.

We also provide psychological profiling of underage legal offenders - regarding theft, violence, murder or drug-related offences, for example. The information psychologists provide as expert witnesses assists the court in both their legal proceedings, and in making rehabilitation related decisions in the young person’s best interests, while also taking the needs of society into consideration.

Dr. Tunbridge received specialist training in both Canada and South Africa in the evaluation of child and youth forensic concerns; specifically, in child and youth psychopathology in Canada (Child & Youth Mental Health Services (Outpatient Clinic), 2002), and in child abuse - sexual, physical and emotional - through the University of the Western Cape (1996). He also worked with youth offenders and their families through the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver in Canada (2004/5). He provides youth offender profiling, as well as treatment planning and recommendation.

Dr. Tunbridge has worked extensively with child abuse in clinical practice and can assess young victims for harm and treatment planning, as well as their family circumstances, and their adult offenders.

Many of our associates are also specialists in forensic assessment, providing services for both young people as well as adults.

Work Capacity

Health-related issues more generally, and mental illness more specifically, can seriously affect workplace adjustment. This may be reflected in loss of productivity; loss of efficiency; greater absenteeism; interpersonal conflict, as well as possible anger and hostility towards management and co-workers, and even clients. Psychiatric illnesses are increasingly being recognized as an important cause of work impairment, probably because their prevalence is rising due to greater awareness of their impact. Psychological adjustment to chronic illness may also pose a serious problem for work capacity.

Our team of psychologists are able to assess whether the health impairment (physical and/or mental) significantly affects the employee’s activities of daily living, social functioning, concentration, adaptation, motivation, efficiency and accuracy, as well as their overall work capacity.

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