Forensic Medicine


Disciplines in this category include forensic pathology, psychiatry, psychology, clinical forensic medicine, odontology (dentistry), anthropology, entomology and mortuary services.

Forensic pathology involves post-mortem examinations in order to determine the cause and manner of death and may include injury interpretation.

Psychiatry and psychology are concerned with whether an individual's mental state may be a mitigating circumstance in the commission of an alleged crime, whether a person is mentally fit to stand trial and the treatment of mentally ill people who have been convicted of crimes. Clinical forensic doctors undertake sexual and physical assault examinations, examinations of victims of interpersonal violence including family violence, fitness for interview examinations, traffic medicine and clinical pharmacology.

Forensic odontologists examine and evaluate dental evidence to assist in legal matters, including the identification of deceased individuals who are not visibly identifiable, the interpretation of patterned injuries, the estimation of age in living and deceased persons and the evaluation of oral injuries.

Forensic anthropologists examine and analyse a range of differentially preserved human remains and may be involved in the recovery and scene interpretation of buried and/or surface scatters providing evidentiary and investigative evidence. A forensic anthropologist differentiates human from non-human skeletal remains, provides information to assist in the identification of missing persons (e.g. estimations of sex, age, ancestry and stature) and analyses remains for evidence of skeletal trauma.

Forensic entomologists use the study of insects found with deceased individuals to provide information about the minimum time since death, and season and location of death.

Mortuary services personnel provide laboratory and technical support to forensic mortuaries. A mortuary may be part of a Forensic Service Laboratory, or attached to a hospital.  Staff typically assist the forensic pathologists during post-mortem examinations and manage the transfer of deceased individuals, among other duties relating to the provision of mortuary services. Appropriate qualifications are as follows:

  • Pathology, psychiatry and clinical forensic medicine (Medical Degree with appropriate post-graduate qualifications)
  • Psychology (Degree in Psychology - clinical)
  • Forensic Odontology (Degree in Dentistry and a specialist postgraduate degree)
  • Forensic Anthropology (an undergraduate degree in Science majoring in human anatomy or in Arts majoring in anthropology and archaeology and a PhD in physical/biological anthropology or human anatomy)
  • Entomology (appropriate science degree and post-graduate qualifications)
  • Mortuary Service (Mortuary management degree).

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