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 evidential value of forensic questioned documents evidence 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
244148  Demonstrate an understanding of the evidential value of forensic questioned documents evidence 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Forensic Science 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
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  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

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 
This Unit Standard is intended for learners who will be required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of examinations of disputed documents in a forensic science environment. It is intended to provide foundational knowledge of the probative value of forensic questioned document evidence that is collected, packaged and stored and admissible to a court of law as evidence towards serving justice.

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.
  • Explain the different types of evidence examined in forensic questioned document examinations.
  • Explain the role of handwriting standards.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the collection of forensic questioned document evidence.
  • Explain the preservation and packaging procedures of forensic questioned documents evidence. 

  • 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 
    Explain the different types of evidence examined in forensic questioned document examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The different types of document evidence are described in terms of its evidential value in forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Document evidence refers to but is not limited to:
  • Dual documents, incomplete documents and damaged documents.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The types of evidence needed for handwriting identification are explained with examples. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Types of evidence refer to handwriting, signatures, writing instruments and ink.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The types of evidence needed for paper comparison and dating are explained in terms of its evidential value in forensic questioned document examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Types of evidence on which indentations and impressions can be identified, are explained in terms of its evidential value in forensic questioned document examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Types of evidence of alterations and erasures to documents are explained in terms of its evidential value in forensic questioned document examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    Evidence of document forgeries and falsifications are explained in terms of its evidential value in forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Document forgeries and falsifications must include banknotes, identity documents and passports.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Explain the role of handwriting standards. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The elementary concepts of handwriting standards are explained according to forensic questioned document examination standards. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Elementary concepts refer to but are not limited to:
  • Comparison standards and handwriting standards.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The elementary requirements for handwriting standards are described according to forensic questioned document examination standards. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Types of handwriting standards (sample writing) are described according to forensic questioned document examination standards. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Handwriting standards refer to but are not limited to:
  • Collected standards, dictated or requested standards and combination standards.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The collection (procurement) of handwriting standards are described according to forensic questioned document standards. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the collection of forensic questioned document evidence. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Evidence refers to questioned document evidence for the purpose of forensic examination.

    Evidence must include the following types, but is not limited to:
  • Handwritten documents, printed documents, typing, marks and indentations. 

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The value of evidence is determined in a given situation. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Evidence refers to but is not limited to:
  • Direct and indirect evidence.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    A scene of incidence is evaluated in order to collect evidence. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Evaluation of a scene of incidence must include systematic and scientifically orientated searches.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    A collection technique is selected for use in a given structured scenario. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Collection technique must match the type of evidence, and here must include, but is not limited to:
  • Burned, stained, torn and perforated documents.

    Collection technique for signatures, handwriting, stamps and typewriting must include a reference sample.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Explain the preservation and packaging procedures of forensic questioned documents evidence. 
    OUTCOME RANGE 
    Procedures also refer to standard operating procedures as prescribed by different organisations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The principles of preservation of questioned document exhibit material are explained with examples. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Principles must include, but is not limited to:
  • Contamination, storage, environmental, transport.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Elements of forensic questioned document evidence packaging are described with examples. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Elements must include, but is not limited to:
  • Packing material, environmental factors, storage, contamination, chain of custody.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The critical factors that contribute to contamination during preservation and packaging are categorised according to their impact on the forensic investigation process. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Critical factors must include, but is not limited to:
  • Environmental and human.
     


  • 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 criminal investigations.
  • Principles of scene of incidence investigation.
  • Elementary science principles.
  • Knowledge of the value of forensic questioned document evidence from handwritten and printed documents.
  • Knowledge of crime scene evaluation and sampling for questioned document evidence for purposes of criminal investigation.
  • Knowledge of the requirements for packaging and preservation of evidence for questioned document examinations.
  • Knowledge of the concepts of proof of questioned document examinations in a forensic environment. 

  • 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 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Glossary of Terminology:
  • 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.
  • Collected standards: Collected or informal writing samples (specimens) that consist of documents (handwriting) that were created during general operation.
  • Combination standards: These writing standards are a combination of both collected and requested standards.
  • Comparison standards: Comparison standards are a condensed and compact set of authentic samples of known origin with which the disputed document is compared (Van Heerden, 1976).
  • Damaged documents: 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.
  • Dating: To determine the age of an item.
  • Dictated or requested standards: These standards consist of handwriting (documents) written by a suspect on request in the presence of the investigating officer.
  • 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.
  • Dual documents: Dual documents are partly false (and thus partly genuine), but their content was partly distorted by certain addition(s) or the erasure(s) and alteration(s) of the original declaration on the document.
  • 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.
  • Evidential value: Material (including documents and testimony) are presented to the Court in order to prove or disprove an aspect that was placed in question. The extent to which the material contributes towards proving or disproving the aspect in question, is its evidential value.
  • Forensic questioned documents: Documents analysed with forensic document examination methods and techniques for the purpose of individualisation and identification.
  • Handwriting standards: Handwriting standards are the handwriting samples of a specific person (that is to say, of known origin) which are used by the document examiner for comparison purposes (Van Heerden, 1967).
  • 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.
  • Impressions: Writing, typing or stamping on two or more sheets of paper causes impressions on the surface of the paper.
  • Incomplete documents: Incomplete documents are usually genuine as far as ink, writing and materials are concerned, but are questioned with regard to the truth of the incomplete message.
  • Indentations on documents: Indentations are the result of disturbance in the tension of the paper by the pressure exerted on the writing or other instrument (Van Heerden, 1982).
  • 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.
  • Scene of incidence: Also referred to as a crime scene. A place or item that can be used as evidence in a forensic investigation or forensic examination.
  • Signatures: 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.
  • Systematic and scientifically orientated searches: A procedure based on scientific principles whereby a scene of incidence is evaluated and evidence identified and collected for subsequent scientific analysis thereof. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  57651   National Certificate: Forensic Science  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2023-06-30  SAS SETA 


    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 Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries 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 Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. Hadassah Security Consultants Cc 
    2. STRATEGIC INVESTIGATIONS AND SEMINARS 



    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.