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 forensic questioned documents examinations 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
244154  Demonstrate an understanding of forensic questioned documents examinations 
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 
On completion of this unit standard the learner will be able to understand the elementary components of the field of questioned documents as an introduction to understanding the underlying principles of questioned document examinations for the purpose of forensic investigations.

This unit standard will provide a good background to the type of examinations that are performed in the field of forensic questioned documents as well as the elementary concepts underlying the different examination techniques. The learner will know how conclusions are made and understand the various degrees of conclusions when examining disputed documents. This unit standard will also provide the learner with an overview of the different types of equipment that can be used when examining questioned documents.

A person credited with this unit standard will be able to:
  • Explain the various degrees of conclusions in questioned document examinations.
  • Explain the elementary concepts of examination techniques of questioned documents.
  • Demonstrate and understanding of the specialized examination equipment used in forensic questioned document examinations. 

  • 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 various degrees of conclusions in questioned document examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The various degrees of conclusions are defined in terms of forensic questioned document examination standards. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Degrees of conclusions refer to but are not limited to:
  • Positive identification, strong probability, probable, inconclusive, probably negative, highly probably negative, negative.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The degrees of conclusions are compared in context to forensic questioned document examination results. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    The comparison here is limited to:
  • Signatures and handwriting.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The reasons for indefinite or qualified conclusions are explained in context forensic questioned document examination results. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Reasons refer to but are not limited to:
  • Lack of individual characteristics, temporary factors which influence writing, disguised or distorted writing, change in writing habits, non-comparable documents and imitation and tracing.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Explain the elementary concepts of examination techniques of questioned documents. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The elementary concepts of examination of printed documents are explained in terms of forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Examination techniques refer to but are not limited to:
  • Identification of the type and make of a typewriter, the identification of types of printing machines, methods for examining the origin, identity or authenticity of a typed questioned document and the identification of printing processes.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The elementary concepts of handwriting identification are explained in terms of forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Handwriting identification methods must refer to:
  • The three principles of handwriting identification, handwriting characteristics, the value of line direction and line crossings, individual handwriting differences and the elementary principles of results interpretation of handwriting examinations.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The elementary concepts of paper examination are explained in terms of forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Paper examinations refer to but are not limited to:
  • Paper comparison methods and paper dating methods.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The elementary concepts of writing instruments and ink examinations are explained in terms of forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Examinations refer to but are not limited to:
  • Visual examination of ink, colour differentiation of ink and ink identification.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Stamp identification is explained according to class and individual characteristics. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    Methods of making indentations and impressions visible are explained in context to forensic questioned document examination. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Indentations and impressions refer to latent marks, paper binding methods and folds, sweat impressions and ink transfers.

    Methods refer to but are not limited to:
  • Oblique illumination, iodine, fluorescent and other powders, fluids, pencil and carbon paper, ronchi sheet, X-ray and radioisotope methods of examination and electrostatic detection.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 7 
    Methods for identification of alterations and erasures to documents are explained in context to forensic questioned document examination. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods refer to but are not limited to:
  • Mechanical erasure identification methods (powder, oblique illumination, transmitted light, ultra-violet radiation, iodine vapour, mercury vapour, electrostatic detection (ESDA) apparatus, chemical erasure identification methods (transmitted light, ultraviolet illumination,infrared luminescence), methods to identify erased writing, methods for identification of excisions, additions, insertions and transfer by means of copying.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 8 
    Methods for identification of forged or false documents for identity purposes are explained in context to forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods must refer to the examination of the following:
  • Cover, binding, staples, paper, printing, perforations, handwriting and signatures and photographs.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 9 
    Techniques for determining the age of documents are explained in context to forensic questioned document examinations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Techniques must refer to dating by materials, dating through changes in materials and dating by comparison.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Demonstrate and understanding of the specialized examination equipment used in forensic questioned document examinations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The use of lighting apparatus is explained in terms of forensic questioned document examination. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Lighting apparatus refers to but is not limited to:
  • Spotlights, oblique lighting, transmitted lighting, transmitted light, light box and filters.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The use of photographic methods is explained in terms of forensic questioned document examination. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Photographic methods refer to but are not limited to:
  • Recording of photography, ultra-violet reflection, infrared absorption and the use of filters.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The use of measuring equipment is explained in terms of forensic questioned document examination. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Measuring equipment refers to but is not limited to:
  • Measuring microscope, illuminated hand magnifying glass, stereo microscope and comparison microscope.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The use of ultraviolet and infrared apparatus is explained in terms of forensic questioned document examination. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Ultraviolet and infrared apparatus refer to but are not limited to:
  • Video spectral comparator (VSC 1) and the electrostatic detection apparatus (ESDA).
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The use of the electron microscope is explained in terms of forensic questioned document examination. 


    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 and as amended Inquests Act (Act 58 of 1959).
  • Current relevant occupational health and safety legislation.
  • Forensic investigation principles.
  • Overview of the fields of forensic science.
  • Criminal investigations principles.
  • Scene of incidence investigation principles.
  • Elementary analytical and interpretation skills.
  • Elementary concepts of probability.
  • Background to forensic questioned documents principles.
  • 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 

    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.
  • Additions: 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.
  • Comparison microscope: The comparison microscope consists of two independent objective lenses joined together by an optical bridge to a common eyepiece lens.
  • 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.
  • Document forgery: Reproduction of handwriting, typewriting or printing or other medium with intent to defraud.
  • 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.
  • Electrostatic detection apparatus: A device used to visualize indented writing.
  • 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.
  • Excisions: Parts of documents that are removed by cutting.
  • Forensic questioned documents: Documents analysed with forensic document examination methods and techniques for the purpose of individualisation and identification.
  • 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.
  • Illuminated hand magnifying glass: Magnifying glass which have a torch-type light.
  • Impressions: Writing, typing or stamping on two or more sheets of paper causes impressions on the surface of the paper.
  • 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).
  • Infrared luminescence: A technique in which inks are exposed to visible light and then give of energy that is in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Insertions: Changes to a document to change the information by inserting parts, sentences or pages.
  • Light box filters: The light box generally used by photographers to study negatives.
  • Line quality: Line quality is a term characterizing the stroke and basic movements and manner of holding the writing instrument (Hilton ,1982).
  • Measuring microscope: This optical instrument can take accurate readings of up to one thousandth of an inch (1 inch = 2,5 centimetres) for absolute accurate comparisons.
  • Oblique illumination: The illumination of a document at a very shallow angle in order to identify indentations of the paper.
  • 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.
  • Radioisotope: An unstable molecule that releases radiation as it decays. Can be used in testing or as treatment.
  • Ronchi sheet: A sheet of glass with finely spaced engraved lines upon it, used to examine questioned documents for the presence of indentations.
  • Scanning Electron Microscope: The scanning electron microscope bombards a specimen with a beam of electrons instead of light to produce a highly magnified image from 10X to 100,000X that produces X-ray emissions that can be used to characterise elements present in the material under investigation.
  • 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.
  • Stamp: A block or die used to imprint a mark or design on an object or document.
  • Stereo microscope: An optical instrument that provides a three-dimensional image which is extremely useful in numerous examinations where depth of field is important, like folds in documents, indentations and line crossings.
  • Transmitted light: Illumination of a document from the back in order to perform detailed examination of the paper surface, the medium used on it as well as incidental marks and imprints on or into the paper.
  • Ultra-violet radiation: Electromagnetic radiation, with a shorter wavelength than the visible region, but a longer wavelength than soft X-rays.
  • Variation: Unconscious natural changes that is present in normal writing.

    List of Abbreviations:

    ESDA: Electrostatic Detection Apparatus.
    UV: Ultraviolet.
    VSC-1: Video Spectral Comparator. 

  • 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.