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Viewing sensitive material

  • VFPMS Guideline: Recommended approach for viewing sensitive material

    This guideline has been developed to provide advice for the Assessment of Images and Video footage supplied by Victoria Police (VP) or the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP).

    From time to time requests are made by VP and the OPP for VFPMS medical staff to view images or videos for the purpose of providing an opinion regarding the content of sensitive material. For example, the content of the images or videos may be the subject of possible charges related to child pornography, child sexual offences, physical assault or to more serious charges resulting from the death of a child. These guidelines are provided to encourage a uniform procedure for VFPMS medical staff to use when viewing such material, to promote good practice that will increase the likelihood of a high quality forensic opinion and reduce the risk of interpretative error.

    Key points:

    Sensitive material in the possession of VFPMS

    All material provided to VFPMS by Victoria Police or the OPP that includes sensitive images and/or video footage that is in the possession of VFPMS at any time will be stored securely in a locked cupboard.

    This material will not be copied to the ESMR.

    This material remains the property of Victoria Police or the OPP.

    This material will not be used for any purpose other than in accord with the original request for a forensic opinion.

    Materials related to possible charges of child pornography

    Any images or video material that might be the subject of charges related to child pornography or an investigation related to professionals’ behaviour or ethical standards will remain in the possession of Victoria Police or the OPP and will not be left at the VFPMS offices at any time.

    These images or videos will not be copied by VFPMS.

    VFPMS doctors will, at an agreed time and location, view the images in the presence of a Victoria Police or OPP staff-member who will remain in the room while the material is viewed.

    Two VFPMS doctors will view the material at the same time to ensure that there is an opportunity for discussion around the doctors’ interpretation of the content. The fact that both doctors viewed the material will be documented in the report. Both doctors will discuss the forensic opinion but there will be only one author of the forensic report.