PSCY9915 Civil Law In Relation To Psychiatry Assessment 1 Answer

pages Pages: 4word Words: 890

Question :

Assignment 1


Format:Forensic Report

Length:2,000 words

Mr X, a police officer, has submitted a claim for a “hurt on duty” disability for a diagnosis of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder. The officer claims that he has developed the psychological injury after years of repeated exposure to traumatic events: the employer doubts that the claimant is genuine and asks you as part of the schedule of questions.

“Is Mr X making up his symptoms?”

Discuss how you would approach this request, with reference to the relevant scientific Literature.

Assessment criteria

Your essay will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • comprehensive responses to all aspects of the question
  • evidence of comprehensive research and reading
  • a clearly written and well-structured essay
  • accurate and complete referencing using the APA system2
  • adherence to prescribed word length (+/- 10%)
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Answer :

PSCY9915 Civil Law in Relation to Psychiatry


Post-traumatic stress disorder is commonly referred to as PTSD. It is perhaps considered as a mental health issue that working adults usually encounter several experiences. PTSD triggers that a working adult encounters terrifying events that cause flashbacks and nightmares (Javidi & Yadollahie, 2012). In most cases, it leads to severe anxiety issues as well that ends up having depression. In the given scenario, Mr X is a police officer who claims to have post-traumatic stress disorder. This has happened because he was exposed to several incidents over the last couple of years due to which the problems with mental health have started taking place in his life. This essay aims towards figuring out whether Mr X is making up and exaggerating his symptoms of PTSD or not. In this regard, this essay will include segments such as an overview of PTSD, the associated symptoms, detailed case scenario study, comprehensive research, and a conclusion on the questions "Is Mr X is making up his symptoms?” Having PTSD as a disorder is provisioned under the CLA (Civil Liability Act) of 2002 (Alexander, 2017). If Mr X is found to be genuinely associated with PTSD, he will be given the entire claim for damages under the charge of failure to reasonable care. 

Overview of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders

PTSD is considered to be the mental health issues that trigger through terrifying events. It could happen in both ways that are via experiencing the event or witnessing it. The symptoms in this regard include severe nightmare, anxiety attacks, and uncontrollable thoughts (Yehuda et al., 2015). Most of the adults who have faced such issues have struggled to cope up with it. In most cases, the disorder has even led to severe depression amongst human beings. It is found that PTSD results in having negative changes in thought processes and moods suddenly. These include negative thoughts about self, hopelessness about the future, difficulty maintaining relationships, and lack of interest in the activities. It also makes the person easily frightened and always guard for danger (Shalev, Liberzon & Marmar, 2017). PTSD also troubles to sleep and makes the process difficult for the person. If an individual claim having post-traumatic stress disorder, they must immediately seek or consult a doctor. The post-evaluation processes of PTSD have been observed, leading to serious mental disorders that might permanently make the person fall into trouble (Bisson et al., 2015). With that said, since the symptoms are mild and entirely based on one’s personal experiences, it becomes difficult to judge whether the individual is seriously diagnosed with PTSD or just faking it for the sake of benefits. 

Symptoms of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD are somewhat similar and based on one’s personal life experiences. These include symptoms one having while sleeping, walking, travelling, or working at the workspace. Post-traumatic stress disorder includes various symptoms that should not be neglected if reported wisely. The symptoms include vivid flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, intense distress, and physical sensations (Andereasen, 2011). It might also include panicking, getting easily angry, extreme alertness, hypervigilance, irritability, anxiety, and disturbed sleep or lack of sleep. It has been found that four types of post-traumatic stress disorder exist in the world of mental health. These include types such as intrusive, avoidance, negative, and emotional PTSD. In this regard, each type has different triggers that boost the impact of PTSD on the person. Triggers include factors such as sights, sounds, thoughts, memories, smells, vibes, and traumatic vision (Pitman et al., 2012). Often people encountering such triggers do not prefer talking about it as it might make them look weird and sound abnormal. That is why it is always suggested to talk about it with the family members or friends so that effective interventions could be taken before it is too late. 

Case Scenario with Mr X

Mr X is a police officer who claimed to have post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of duty. He claimed the diagnosis as “hurt on duty”. This happened because of years of repeated exposure to traumatic events. This becomes a matter of concern under Civil Forensic Psychiatry that conducts the code of complexities with discipline (Samuels, 2018). As per the post-impact of being guilty in the matter, several factors apply to the person. These include factors such as guardianship, custody, parental competence, work compensation, negligence, and others. Thus, it could be echoed that criminal forensic psychiatry is a subset of one's issues. Considering the case scenario associated with Mr X, the post-traumatic stress disorder might have shown up due to various issues while he was working. These include haphazard issues on the job, logistic issues on training, and the complex area with legal statues, ethical issues, and diversity at the workplace (Sheldon & Macdonals, 2010). 

Regarding the elements of the tort of negligence, four areas are found to be covered more comprehensively. These include areas such as the duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damage. Duty of care is the area that must be given high importance whenever an individual works with civil or defence forces. Mr X might have faced many issues regarding this area as a policeman's job is not easy and requires certain mental abilities to possess throughout the journey (Skogstad et al., 2013). Similarly, the breach of duty can be segmented under two broad categories. These include the standard of care and the defendant's response to the standard of care. In both cases, if Mr X is faking his symptoms, he is answerable to the judiciary and his senior reporting officers. Further, the causation is considered as a painful move that might be evident for Mr X. This might cost damage to the reputation and serviceability of the policeman. 

Evidence from Comprehensive Research 

PTSD could be commonly found in police officers as their line of work requires stressful work, which results in the inability to sleep, physical reaction to things and places, nightmares and intrusive memories. It is often seen in police officers that are always on guard to tackle any moment. In addition to this, it has also been found that police officers often take the help of drugs and alcohol for reducing PTSD however, experts describe that dependency on drugs and alcohol does not help police officers. In most cases, PSTD is triggered by accidents such as shooting, robbery attempt or bombing (NDLERF, 2013). Hence, it is not wrong to state that whenever police officers get involved in any of these accidents, the shockwaves results in PTSD trauma. In their official report, the Australian police department revealed that at-least 223 policemen get involved with PTSD on an annual basis every year since 2000.  

Some of the PTSD cases occur due to finding the dead body of person due to natural death (54%), death due to traffic accidents (31%), death by suicide (35%) and many other reasons (NDLERF, 2013). Police officers are also human, and while working in police, they often have to see such cases; hence, these slowly build up in police officers, and they got triggered with PTSD. Approximately 91% of police officers described that they get involved in work-related stress once in their life. Hence, it is inevitable. Furthermore, the role of emergency response is one of the toughest in the police service as they have to get involved in the worst cases (Kessler, Gaxiola & Alonso, 2017). Approximately 32% of total emergency responders are currently dealing with reactions to post-traumatic stress. 

Police officers are prone to PTSD as their profession is harsher than other professions and the women police officers are even more prone than men police officers. This is also related to the early retirement of police officers as many could not deal further with their anxiety and hence, has to leave their job. While some take voluntary retirement but in other cases police department have to retire them. Approximately 16.8% of retires are found to be battling with PTSD or at-least reactions to stress (NDLERF, 2013). On various occasions, there is a news that a policemen shot someone accidentally, this generally happens when they are on their guard and hence, because of their quick reaction this happens (Liu, Zhang, Wong & Hyun, 2020). It is important to understand that the reason behind this is stress generation with time. PTSD does not get incorporated into a person from a single event, but it takes time and gets build-up with time. 

Even the threat is real, only a minority of cases gets treated by the police department, and the rest is rejected. In 2007-2008, 40 police officers from Victoria got treated for PTSD. The total number of officers working in the city counts up to 11,000 (NDLERF, 2013). Majority of the files for PTSD get rejected from the head office, and hence, most officers have to work under PTSD for most of their time. 

Is Mr X making upon his symptoms?

As per the case scenario, Mr X is a police officer who claimed to have post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the duty of care. He claimed the diagnosis as “hurt on duty”. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health issue that triggers various terrifying events. From the comprehensive research, it has been found that PTSD is common regarding the life of a policeman. In most of the cases, it has been found that the policemen were not guilty and were not faking the symptoms (Lee et al., 2016). Thus, it could be assumed that Mr X is not faking as it is perhaps a severe issue to be considered more comprehensively. In this regard, even if the officials doubt the truth about the syndromes and symptoms of Mr X's post-traumatic stress disorder, they must consult with a doctor or consultant. If Mr X is found to be made upon his symptoms, tort law reforms are intensely applicable. These include three major areas, namely NCAT (Health Professional Bodies), SIRA (WCC and MAA), and no-fault compensation to TAC and ACC, which are the code of conduct under Victoria's work safe policies. 

Possibly, Mr X is not making upon his symptoms because having such PTSD issues in the journey of servicing as a policeman is common. This usually happens because of the mental perspectives that the individual possess and most commonly because of the experiences he had. At the same time, the officials must conduct a PI under which the symptoms should be aligned carefully (Austin et al., 2012). Some of the most common symptoms in this regard are found to be including vivid flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, intense distress, and physical sensations. If still, the officials feel in doubt, they must proceed as per the legal jurisdictions. These include ways via NCAT, Supreme Court Civil Division, Fair Work Commission Australia, and the Coroners Court. 


To conclude, PTSD is considered a mental health issue that working adults usually encounter several experiences. As per the case scenario allotted, Mr X is a police officer who claimed to have post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of duty of care and referred to it as “hurt on duty”. In this regard, this report aimed towards figuring out whether Mr X is making up and exaggerating his symptoms of PTSD or not. For this purpose, the entire essay evaluated and reflected segments such as overview on PTSD, the associated symptoms, detailed case scenario study, comprehensive research, and a discussion on whether Mr X was making upon his symptoms or not. It has been echoed loud that Mr X is not making upon his symptoms because having such PTSD issues in the journey of servicing as a policeman is common. If the officials still doubt Mr X’s post-traumatic stress disorder, they must consult with a doctor and proceed as per the legal jurisdictions. Lastly, it could be possibly intervened that some specific issues are also interlinked with civil law concerning psychiatry. These include causation, stabilization, impairment, negligence, TPD, and diagnosis as per the PTSD standards.