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What is a forensic procedure?

Information to explain what a forensic procedure is.

Forensic procedures involve the collection of forensic material including material that may be used for DNA testing. Samples collected can be intimate, non-intimate or DNA profile samples.

Intimate forensic samples

Intimate forensic samples include:

  • blood samples
  • pubic hair (including the root if needed)
  • swabs, washing or sample taken from the external genital, anal or breast swabs
  • saliva samples, mouth scrapes and dental impressions.

Non-intimate forensic samples

Non-intimate forensic samples include:

  • hair samples (including the root if needed)
  • samples of matter from under a fingernail or toenail
  • external swabs or washings
  • other samples, procedures or physical examinations.

Physical examinations

A physical examination may include an examination of the external part of a person's body requiring touching of the person or removal of the person's clothing.

Physical examinations are often carried out when an offender was injured in the commission of an offence or where a witness may have noticed distinguishing marks such as tattoos on the offender.

What is excluded

Fingerprints?

Forensic procedures do not include fingerprints under Victorian law, but they do according to the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914.

For details about the law relating to fingerprints see Fingerprints.

DNA profile samples

This method of authorising DNA profile samples from a particular class of people, called DNA persons, commenced on 1 July 2019. This allows senior police to authorise taking samples of hair, skin, blood, saliva or mouth swab if a person is guilty or suspected of committing a specified offence. This procedure is explicitly excluded from the definition of a forensic procedure under the Victorian Crimes Act 1958. The procedure and powers are separate to the powers that allow courts to make an order for a person to submit to a compulsory procedure, or for police to order non-intimate compulsory procedure for some people.

See DNA profile samples

More information

Legislation

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

  • s. 464(2)—defines 'DNA database', 'forensic material' and 'forensic procedure' intimate and non-intimate samples, DNA profile sample and DNA person
  • s. 464R—forensic procedure on an adult
  • s. 464SA—senior police officer may authorise non-intimate compulsory procedure for certain adults
  • s. 464U(3)—list of offences that enable police to make application to children's court for a forensic procedure order

See Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

References

Criminal Law, Investigation and Procedure Victoria

This Westlaw online resource has detailed information about forensic procedures.

See Scientific identification of suspects [ID.3000](opens in a new window).

Updated