In this section
This table contains
recommendations regarding the maximum interval between time of last known
physical contact and time of biological sample collection. Collection of
samples beyond these time intervals may be justified under exceptional
circumstances after discussion with senior forensic medical practitioners. When
doubt exists, practitioners are urged to err on the side of caution and collect
samples. It is possible, but unlikely, that a positive result could be obtained
beyond the recommended time intervals.
recommendations are not intended to act as a substitute for informed
decision-making around optimal timing for a forensic medical service and/or
decisions around what samples should be collected.
recommendations apply to normally active individuals. Timeframes may be extended for bedridden/inactive
persons, or deceased persons.
must be obtained prior to sample collection. Information must also be provided
to patients regarding how results of forensic analysis might be stored and used
(including recording of DNA profiles on a Victoria Police DNA database).
Forensic analysis of samples may be
performed for the purpose(s) of:
Slides made from
swabs are only required when looking for spermatozoa, not for saliva, other
fluids or chemical substances.
A decision may reasonably be reached
NOT to collect samples for forensic analysis if:
where drainage of body fluids after the alleged assault might result in the
presence of biological material at a site other than the site where it was
initially deposited, consideration should be given to collection of samples at
times beyond those recommended in the table. For example, drainage of seminal
fluid from the vagina might occur for hours to days following unprotected penile-vaginal
intercourse with ejaculation resulting in the presence of seminal fluid on the
visible signs of dried body fluids or stains, regardless of time since the
when fluids might have drained onto clothing or when genital skin (including
penile skin) might have transferred DNA to clothing.
There is no upper time limit for collection of
biological samples such as foreign hairs, foreign material such as ejaculate in
hair, and objects such as condoms or stained (or possibly stained) clothing
such as underwear.
Limited data exists in
relation to collection times for forensic analysis of samples collected from
prepubertal children. Currently available data suggests that the yield is low
when samples are collected from prepubertal children more than 48 hours after
the last known physical contact.
Penile – oral penetration (semen possible)
Collect mouth rinse* & perioral swab
Oral – genital contact (cunnilingus, saliva)
Sample ONLY if post pubertal
Penile - vaginal penetration (semen possible)
Cervix (NOTE: requires speculum)
Not if douched
Menstruation may reduce likelihood of positive result
Digital – vaginal penetration
Digital – anal contact
Not if washed
Foreign material transferred to victim’s skin
(includes possible semen, blood or saliva on
skin. Sample visible material or stain regardless of time frame)
Penetrating any orifice
e.g. Scratched skin
*Note: ensure water
vials from within FMEKs are NOT used for the mouth rinse due to the possible
trace presence of decontaminant agents. Use 10 ml 'water for injection' from
hospital stock. If ‘water for injection’
unavailable 10 ml of tap water may be used for the mouth rinse.
forensic laboratory does not do histology or look for mucous membrane cells in
these specimens. Analysis is limited to DNA or certain other substances such as
amylase (if there was penile – oral penetration)
This guideline will be reviewed annually. Due for review December 2019.