Jump to Main Content
Dismantling the justice silos: Flowcharting the role and expertise of forensic science, forensic medicine and allied health in adult sexual assault investigations
- Kelty, Sally F., Julian, Roberta, Bruenisholz, Eva, Wilson-Wilde, Linzi
- Forensic science international 2018 v.285 pp. 21-28
- adults, decision making, forensic sciences, medicine, models, physicians, police, risk, scientists, silos
- Forensic science is increasingly used to help exonerate the innocent and establishing links between individuals and criminal activities. With increased reliance on scientific services provided by multi-disciplinary (police, medicine, law, forensic science), and multi-organisational in the private and government sectors (health, justice, legal, police) practitioners, the potential for miscommunication resulting unjust outcomes increases. The importance of identifying effective multi-organisational information sharing is to prevent the ‘justice silo effect’; where practitioners from different organisations operate in isolation with minimal or no interaction. This paper presents the findings from the second part of the Interfaces Project, an Australia-wide study designed to assess the extent of the justice silos. We interviewed 121 police, forensic scientists, lawyers, judges, coroners, pathologists and forensic physicians. The first paper published in 2013 presented two key findings: first investigative meetings were rare in adult sexual assault cases; second many medical practitioners were semi-invisible in case decision-making with this low level of visibility being due to lawyers, forensic scientists or police not being aware of the role/expertise medical practitioners offer. These findings led to the development of a flowchart model for adult sexual assault that highlights the range of agencies and practitioners typically involved in sexual assault. The rationale for the flowchart is to produce a visual representation of a typical sexual assault investigative process highlighting where and who plays a role in order to minimise the risk of justice silos. This is the second paper in a series of two.