SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Demonstrate an understanding of the field of forensic questioned documents 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
244147  Demonstrate an understanding of the field of forensic questioned documents 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Forensic Science 
QUALITY ASSURING BODY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 08 - Law, Military Science and Security Safety in Society 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2015-07-01  2018-06-30  SAQA 10105/14 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2019-06-30   2022-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
On completion of this unit standard the learner will be able to understand the elementary components of the field of forensic questioned documents. This unit standard is intended as an introduction to the specialized field of forensic questioned documents.

On completion of this unit standard the learner will understand elementary concepts of handwriting, signatures and printing processes that underlie the examination of disputed documents for the purpose of forensic investigations. The learner will also be familiar with the concepts of marks and indentations as indicators of forged documents and have a background to the falsification of documents for purposes of identification.

A person credited with this unit standard will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of handwriting and signatures used in questioned document examinations.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of printing processes related to questioned document examination.
  • Explain the use of marks and indentations on documents in terms of forensic questioned document examinations.
  • Document forgery methods are described in context to forensic questioned document examinations.
  • Explain the falisfication of documents for purposes of identification. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of forensic science", ID 242712.
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of the specialised fields in forensic science", ID 242708.
  • Communication at NQF Level 4. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    N/A 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of handwriting and signatures used in questioned document examinations. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Characteristics refer to elementary characteristics and not detailed aspects of handwriting and signatures. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The development of handwriting is explained in terms of the history of handwriting. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    The concept of handwriting refers, but is not limited to:
  • The origin, history and development of handwriting, print writing and cursive writing in general, with specific reference to handwriting development in South Africa.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Handwriting characteristics are described in terms of forensic questioned documents examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Characteristics refer to, but are not limited to:
  • Arrangement, breaks, design, diacritical marks, line quality, ornamental strokes, pen position, punctuation, shading, size and size ratio, slope, spacing, and strokes (initial, connecting and terminal).

    Line quality refers to, but is not limited to:
  • Include rhythm, movement, writing instruments, tremor.

    Movement refers to, but is not limited to:
  • Movement of:
    > Finger, hand, forearm, whole arm.

    Tremor refers to, but is not limited to:
  • Illiteracy or clumsiness, self-consciousness or nervousness, unusual writing position, weakness as a result of illness or age, and intake of liquor.

    Pen position refers to, but is not limited to:
  • Writing surface, writing instrument, speed.

    Arrangement refers to, but is not limited to:
  • The size, style, position, replication, accentuation, frequency and character of:
    > Spacing, baseline, margins, symmetry of width, line directions, relationship of sub-sections (letterheads, introductions and conclusion) to content and other sub-sections, paragraphing, margins, use of symbols and signs, insertions, connections between words, number of words, punctuation marks and underlinings.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Variation of handwriting is demonstrated in terms of forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Factors causing variation in handwriting here refer to, but are not limited to:
  • Position of writing, writing instruments, carefulness, drunkenness and state of health.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Disguised (distorted) handwriting is explained in terms of forensic questioned documents examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods of disguise refer to, but are not limited to:
  • Change of slope, writing instrument, writing method and design of letters.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Principles of forgery in signatures are described in terms of forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Principles of forging signatures refer to, but are not limited to:
  • Authenticity, imitations limitations, tracings, falsifications, and supported or hand-guided signatures.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    Initials and marks in handwriting and signatures are explained in terms of forensic questioned documents examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Initials and marks are defined according to the nature, use and styles thereof.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 7 
    Influences on signatures are demonstrated in terms of forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Influences refer, but are not limited to:
  • Internal and external influences, such as old age, sickness, stress, alcohol and drugs.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 8 
    Different writing instruments are explained according to its effect on handwriting and signatures. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Writing instruments refer to but are not limited:
  • Pencils, ballpoint pens, fountain pens, fiber pens and pens with plastic nibs.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 9 
    Different types of inks are described according to its physical and chemical qualities. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Inks refer to but are not limited to:
  • Indian ink, sepia ink, iron nut-gall ink, synthetic types of ink for use in fountain pens, erasable ink, printer's ink and typewriter ribbon ink.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Demonstrate an understanding of printing processes related to questioned document examination. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Printing processes are explained according to the printing methodologies. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Printing processes must include, but are not limited to:
  • Letter press printing, intaglio, photo engraving (gravure), embossment, screen printing, thermo-graphic printing, flexo-graphic printing, and litho-graphic printing.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The development of typewriters is explained in terms of elementary functioning principles. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Printers are described in terms of elementary functioning principles. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Printers refer to but are not limited to:
  • Printers with direct impact on paper (drum and chain printers, dot-matrix printers) and printers with no direct impact on paper (thermal printers, ink jet printers and laser printers).
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Copiers are described in terms of elementary functioning principles. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Copiers refer to but are not limited to:
  • Photostat machines, direct electrostatic copiers, xerography/direct electrostatic copiers, analogue copiers and digital copiers.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The facsimile apparatus is described in terms of elementary functioning principles. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Functioning principles refer to but are not limited to: thermal printing and ink jet printing.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Explain the use of marks and indentations on documents in terms of forensic questioned document examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Latent marks on documents are described according to forensic document examination principles. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Latent marks include, but are not limited to:
  • Fingerprints, writing, marks, indentations, and impressions.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Paper binding methods and folds are described according to their impact on questioned documents in forensic examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Paper binding methods include, but are not limited to:
  • Staples, paper clips and pins.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The impact of ink transfer on documents is explained in context to forensic questioned document principles. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Use refers to, but is not limited to:
  • Deciphering of writing on carbon paper by using different techniques, i.e., photographic or oblique light, and different types of carbon paper.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Stamp types are explained in context to disputed documents in forensic investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Stamp types refer to but are not limited to:
  • Metal stamps and rubber stamps.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Document forgery methods are described in context to forensic questioned document examinations. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    This specific outcome only refers to forging of documents by erasure and alterations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Erasures and alterations to original documents are described in context of forensic examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Types refer to, but are not limited to:
  • Mechanical, chemical, removal or excision, additions and insertions, and transfer by means of copying.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The effect of different types of paper tears and cuts on documents is described in context to forensic examinations of questioned documents. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Paper tears and cuts here refer to, but are not limited to:
  • Haphazard, straight, and perforated.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The impact of damage to documents is explained in context of forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Damage refers to but is not limited to:
  • Burned/charred, stained, torn and perforated documents.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 5 
    Explain the falsfication of documents for purposes of identification. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Types of documents for purposes of identification are named by using examples. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Security characteristics in passports and identity documents are described in context to forensic questioned document examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Methods of falsification of documents for purposes of identification are explained in context to forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods refer to but are not limited to:
  • Methods that can documents forged in their entirety, genuine documents which are altered and particulars in a genuine document which has been changed.

    Documents refer to but are not limited to: identity documents and passports.
     


  • UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Any individual who wishes to be assessed against this unit standard (including assessment of RPL) may apply to an assessment agency, assessor or provider institution accredited by the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Anyone assessing a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA. Assessors must be competent in the outcome of the Unit Standard.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable achievement of this unit standard or assessing this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation of assessment will be conducted by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the relevant ETQA procedures. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Current and as amended Civil Proceedings Evidence Act (Act 25 of 1965).
  • Current and as amended Section 212 (4) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977).
  • Current relevant occupational health and safety legislation.
  • Principles of forensic investigation.
  • Overview of the fields of forensic science.
  • Principles of investigations.
  • Principles of scene of incidence investigation.
  • Elementary science principles. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems in which responses display that responsible decisions, using critical thinking, have been made. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Organise and manage oneself and one's activities responsibly and effectively. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical, and/or language skills in the modes of written and/or oral presentation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically, show responsibility towards the environment and the health of others. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO CONTRIBUTING 
    Contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the society at large, by making it the underlying intention of any programme of learning to make an individual aware of the importance of:
  • Reflecting on and exploring a variety of strategies to learn more effectively.
  • Participating as responsible citizens in the life of local, national and global communities.
  • Being culturally and aesthetically sensitive across a range of social contexts. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Glossary of Terminology:
  • Alignment: The comparison of letters in a word, signature or line, to a baseline.
  • Alterations: An unauthorized operation performed on a document after it has been validated that changes its language or legal meaning, specifically the terms in a negotiable instrument, without knowledge or consent of the parties involved.
  • Analogue copiers: Copier which works on the basis of the image that is reflected directly with the aid of mirrors on the light-sensitive drum which then transfers the image onto the paper.
  • Arrangement: The position and depiction of writing on a page.
  • Baseline: The actual visible line which a writer use to write on.
  • Breaks: Where the writing instrument is lifted from the paper during the writing process.
  • Carbon paper: Carbon paper is thin paper coated on one side with a dark waxy substance (often containing carbon); used to transfer characters from the original to an under sheet of paper.
  • Cursive writing: Cursive writing is a method or style of handwriting involving smooth strokes to connect the letters of a word.
  • Damaged document: A type of questioned document that is generally authentic, but questioned with regard to the treatment it was subjected to, in order to destroy its content or alter its appearance.
  • Diacritical mark: A diacritical mark or diacritic, sometimes called an accent mark, is a mark added to a letter to alter a word's pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words.
  • Digital copiers: The image is converted to digital information by an image processor, from where it is transferred by means of laser to the light-sensitive drum and from there onto the paper.
  • Direct electrostatic copiers/xerography: A dry copying or printing process based on the photoelectric discharge of an electrostatically charged plate. Dry toner particles are fused to electrically charged areas on paper by intense heat in order to impact an image on paper. The charged areas of the paper appear black on the copy, while the uncharged areas remain white.
  • Disguised (distorted) handwriting: The author attempts to hide his own handwriting, without adopting the writing habits of another person. This can be done by distorting the handwriting in a deliberate attempt to hide his identity.
  • Document: A document is something that contains information, such as a visible or invisible symbol, sign or mark, which conveys a message or is significant.
  • Dot-matrix printers: This printer constructs the character from a series of dots.
  • Drum and chain printers: Letters are mounted on a drum or a chain.
  • Embossment: Process used to apply an image to paper by using positive and negative templates. The templates are pressed together with the paper between the templates.
  • Erasable ink: Ink which has a rubber base that can be erased before the ink is completely dried.
  • Erasures: Erasure is the destruction or partial destruction by means of mechanical methods or chemical agents of handwriting, typewriting, printing or other medium as a result of which the message in the document is disguised or distorted (Van Heerden, 1977).
  • Evidence: Evidence may be defined as the testimony of witnesses, as well as the generation of documents, and other exhibits, which may be used for the purpose of proof in legal proceedings.
  • Flexo-graphic printing: Photographic printing process where a flexible, i.e. rubber, press plate is used.
  • Forensic questioned documents: Documents analysed with forensic document examination methods and techniques for the purpose of individualisation and identification.
  • Forgery: Alteration of an instrument (either a document or writing) from its original state.
  • Handwriting: Handwriting of an individual is made by the creation of unconscious patterns through personal habit. These patterns contain writing characteristics that are specific to the individual.
  • Indentations on documents: Indentations are generated when the tension of the paper is disturbed by the pressure that is applied on the writing or other instrument.
  • Initial strokes: Strokes that are formed at the beginning of words.
  • Ink jet printers: The ink jet printer functions by injecting small drops of ink onto the paper in the form of a matrix so that a letter or character is formed.
  • Intaglio: Process used to print bank notes and documents of face value.
  • Iron nut-gall ink: This type of ink is formed when tannic acid reacts with iron salt to form a dark-coloured compound.
  • Laser printers: Printers that use a laser beam to create an image on a photo-conductive drum.
  • Letter press printing: Process used to print serial numbers.
  • Line direction: The direction in which a line is drawn.
  • Line quality: A characteristic of the basic movement, stroke, and manner the writing instrument is held.
  • Litho-graphic: Photographic printing process where a rigid, i.e. aluminium, press plate is used.
  • Marks on documents: Identifiable impressions or imprints on a document.
  • Movement: Movement of writing (for example movement of the finger, hand and the whole arm).
  • Oblique illumination: The illumination of a document at a very shallow angle in order to identify indentations of the paper.
  • Ornamental strokes: Characteristics that are seldom found in normal writing, and generally deviate from the basic writing system.
  • Photo engraving: Process used in gravure printing, where printing is achieved by means of a photo-lithic process, or a diamond tip.
  • Photocopying: Photocopying is a process which makes paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply.
  • Print writing: The characters of a word are written separately without connecting strokes.
  • Printer's ink: A semisolid quick drying ink made especially for use in printing.
  • Questioned document: A document is said to be questioned when everything that the document implies to be, is not accepted. The nature of the aspect placed in question depends on the type of questioned document, which include holographs, dual documents, incomplete documents and damaged documents.
  • Rhythm: A harmonious recurrence of stress, impulse or motion; sometimes used to classify handwriting quality, for example: smooth, intermittent or jerky.
  • Screen printing: Process used to print an image (partial or complete) onto a surface, using wire mesh. Parts of the image are blocked out on the mesh and ink is pressed through the uncovered parts of the mesh onto the printing surface.
  • Sepia ink: This ink is prepared from the fluid excreted by cuttlefish.
  • Shading: Shading refers to the variation in width of the ink line that is caused by increased pressure on the pen. Generally observed when writing instruments with split tips, such as fountain pens, are used. A close relationship exists between movement and shading.
  • Signature: The name of a person, or a sign or mark that represents that person. The name, sign or mark can be indicated by the person, or by a deputy that is authorised to act on his behalf.
  • Size and size ratio: The proportion between the length of letters is referred to as the ratio or difference in size.
  • Slope: The angle or inclination of the axis of letters relative to the baseline.
  • Spacing: The amount of unused space that exists between words, letters, and lines in text. Spacing provides a means to avoid overlapping shapes and letters in order to improve readability.
  • Stamp: A block or die used to imprint a mark or design on an object or document.
  • Strokes (initial, connecting and terminal): Lines that are drawn at the start of a character, connecting characters or at the end of characters.
  • Terminal strokes: Strokes that are formed at the end of words.
  • Thermal printers: Thermal printers "transfer" print or images to paper or transparency by a sheet that caries ink and are touched by a heated printhead to transfer the images to the right points on the page.
  • Thermo-graphic printing: Printing process where resin is applied to wet ink in order to generate a topographic finish.
  • Tremor: The rhythmic, oscillating or shaking movement of the body (or part thereof) that is caused by problems of the neurons that affect muscle action.
  • Typewriter ribbon ink: Ink with a low viscosity usually linseed oil.
  • Variation: Unconscious natural changes that is present in normal writing.
  • Writing instruments: Objects that are used to generate handwriting, via the production of a smooth (controllable) line. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE QUALITY ASSURING BODY
    Elective  57651   National Certificate: Forensic Science  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2018-06-30  SAS SETA 
    Elective  66869   National Certificate: Home Affairs Services  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2018-06-30  PSETA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Quality Assuring Bodies have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Quality Assuring Body should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. Hadassah Security Consultants Cc 
    2. STRATEGIC INVESTIGATIONS AND SEMINARS 
    3. The Department of Home Affairs Learning Centre 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.