The Importance of Continuous Professional Development in Handwriting Examination

Can anyone claim to be an expert in handwriting examination if their training was completed 10, 20, or 30 years ago?  Can an expert rely solely on his or her experience in handwriting examination after training, as a means of claiming skills as current?  Can an expert ignore the technological advances in the field of handwriting examination? Can an expert handwriting examiner, ignore the latest research into the discipline?   Just with any other academic field, absolutely not!With the fields of handwriting examination for both personality profiling (sometimes referred to as graphology), and forensic handwriting examination, evolving at an accelerated pace and with the introduction of technology, the handwriting examiner is obliged to embark on a journey of lifelong learning in the field of handwriting examination.As criminals become more and more sophisticated (in the case of fraudulent documents) or labour laws and other areas of human sciences becomes more complex and with many attorneys setting out to discredit expert witnesses in handwriting examination, the handwriting examiner is compelled to ensure a thorough understanding of peer reviewed research in these field as well as have an understanding of the distorted perceptions of the public (and this includes the layperson, those operating in the justice system, those involved in human sciences) who are by and large ignorant or have a distorted perception based on inaccurate information), of the value of handwriting examination for both personality profiling and forensic handwriting examination.The handwriting expert has therefore a responsibility to educate the public through accurate and up to date knowledge and skills.The handwriting examiner needs to tap into the variety of international offerings available which provide opportunities for continuous professional development.  These include national and international conferences, some of which are now being offered online (further proof that we live in a global village), continuous sourcing of the latest publications which include journal articles, books and research papers, obtaining membership of accredited associations, networking, identifying areas where there are gaps in knowledge and embarking on individual and collaborative research projects, etc.As experts in the field of handwriting examination, we have a responsibility to the public who require our services, to ensure that what we offer is the very latest in skills and knowledge.