Psychologist permanently prohibited from practising

22 Mar 2016

A formerly registered psychologist has permanently been prohibited from practising as a psychologist.

The South Australian Health Practitioners Tribunal (the Tribunal) has found a formerly registered psychologist, Mr Douglas Knuckey, guilty of professional misconduct and permanently prohibited him from practising as a psychologist.

The misconduct occurred during the course of Mr Knuckey’s employment as the Chief Psychologist at South Australian Police.

In October 2010 Mr Knuckey commenced treating a serving police officer. Between March 2011 and March 2012, he engaged in an intimate and personal relationship with his patient contrary to clause C.4.3 of the Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics.

In October and December 2011, Mr Knuckey helped the patient deliver her two children into the custody of her violent, estranged ex-husband for his access to them when Mr Knuckey knew (or reasonably should have known) that doing so may not be safe and was against the best interests of his patient and her children.

In April 2012 the Psychology Board of Australia took immediate action by accepting an undertaking from Mr Knuckey that he would not practise as a psychologist. He subsequently surrendered his registration as a psychologist in February 2015.

The Tribunal found that Mr Knuckey’s behaviour constituted professional misconduct within the meaning of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) Act 2010 and, accordingly, the Tribunal:

  • disqualified Mr Knuckey from applying for registration as a psychologist on a permanent basis
  • permanently prohibited him for providing, undertaking or carrying out, whether directly or indirectly, services or any other acts in any way related, or of and incidental, to the health service practice of psychology, and
  • ordered Mr Knuckey to pay the Board’s costs.

The orders are published on the Tribunal’s website.

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Page reviewed 22/03/2016