Procedures - Victims' Rights
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your rights, please click
What is forensic science?
Crime scene investigation
has developed over centuries. Today
the careful examination of evidence is an important tool in solving
crime. Forensic science
deals with crime scene investigation.
A part of crime scene
investigation is the collection of evidence through forensic
What is a forensic
of common forensic procedures are:
taking a sample of
making a dental
a medical examination
Why do police seek DNA
samples or fingerprints?
All people at a crime scene
always leave some material such as a hair, body fluid, fibre from
clothing, and or other signs of who was there.
Taking DNA or fingerprints
from a victim or volunteer is done so the police can work out what
material belongs to the suspect. To do this every other person who
has been at the crime scene has to be identified, as well.
Without the help of victims
and volunteers, the police can never be certain where DNA found at a
crime scene comes from.
For example, in the case of
a burglary the suspect may have drunk a glass of water at the crime
scene. This glass may
have the burglarís DNA or fingerprints.
The police need to rule out the people living in the house as
the source that DNA or fingerprints.
For this purpose, these people could be asked to volunteer a
forensic sample for testing.
When investigating sexual
assault cases, victims may be asked to have an examination to
collect evidence of the assault (such as semen).
It may also be necessary to collect the DNA of the victim's
recent consensual partners, if any, to rule them out as the source
of DNA found on the swabs taken from the victim. This way the police
will know that the DNA is from the suspect.
An examination could also
look at other things that happened during an offence committed on a
victim. For example, if
a victim was injured this might involve photographing any injury
such as bruises.
Do I have to give a forensic sample?
As a volunteer or victim,
it is your free choice to give a sample. You will be asked to
provide your consent to the sample being taken. You can change your
mind at any time prior to or whilst the sample is being taken, just
by telling the person taking the sample that you no longer wish to
give a sample.
If you are under 16 years
of age or have some difficulty understanding what occurs when a
forensic procedure is conducted due to a physical or mental
disability, consent can be provided either by a next of kin or a
guardian. In some cases
a Senior Police Officer can allow the procedure to be conducted.
A forensic procedure will not proceed if before or during the
procedure you object to the procedure.
(This rule does not apply in certain circumstances, in
particular persons under 10 years of age.)
How will the forensic procedure be done?
A sample has to be taken
in a way that lessens any harm or embarrassment to you and avoids
offending your cultural or religious beliefs. The number of people
present when a sample is taken will be kept to a minimum.
If an examination of the
genital or anal region, buttocks or (for women) breast is required,
it will be done if reasonably practicable by a person of your own
sex unless you ask for a person of the opposite sex.
Can I have a witness of my choice present for certain
You can have a doctor of
your choice present if a blood sample (other than a finger-prick DNA
sample) is to be taken or a sample is to be taken from insider your
mouth (other than a buccal swab for DNA) or if the sample it to be
collected from your genital or anal region, buttocks, or (for women)
The doctor can be your
witness to the procedure, but is not allowed to take part in it or
obstruct it. You will
have to pay any fee charged by your doctor.
you are a child (under 16 years) or are suffering from a physical or
mental disability, a witness must be present during the procedure.
This could be a friend, relative or an advocate.
Can I have an Interpreter
interpreter can be present and help you during a forensic procedure.
You do not have to organise or pay for this service.
What happens to the evidence collected from me?
forensic evidence will be analysed by the Police or Forensic Science
SA or a similar agency. Your
DNA, for example, could be checked against other DNA found at the
Can I set limits on the use of my DNA profile?
You can choose what happens
to your DNA profile.
Sometimes the police might
ask to put your DNA profile on the South Australia DNA database,
a collection of DNA profiles used to help solve crime and
identification matters. You can tell the police that you do not want
this to happen.
you agree to put your DNA profile on the database you can set limits
on how long police can store your profile.
can also choose to limit how police use your DNA profile when it is
on the DNA database. This can be done by telling police which of the
South Australia DNA databases indices (categories) you permit them
to match your profile with.
you are concerned about the possible use of your DNA profile or want
further information, you can consult a lawyer.
Can I ask to
have my forensic sample destroyed?
Section 12 of the
Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act, 2007
of Information to a Relevant Person
To Request The Destruction Of The Forensic Sample Or Material
Under Section 39
You can ask police to destroy your forensic material at any
time; or, if you gave consent on behalf of someone else, you can ask
for the destruction of his or her forensic material.
Your request needs to be in writing, addressed to:
Officer in Charge
Police must then either destroy the sample within 21 days or
apply for an order to keep it.
If the police wish to keep the sample, you will have a chance
to be heard before a decision is made.
you are under 16 and someone else has given consent to the procedure
on your behalf, once you are 16 you can request the destruction of
your forensic material. Alternatively, the person who gave the
consent can request the destruction of your forensic material.
To order a 'hard copy' pamphlet on
victims' rights under the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act,
GPO Box 464
Adelaide, SA, 5001
||Last Modified: 31 January 2012|