Australian Core Forensic Standards Framework

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Robertson et al 2013 

Forensic laboratories, and less so field forensic organizations, are familiar with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other standards principally through third-party accreditation against ISO 17025. However, there are a limited number of forensic-specific standards. The often quoted 2009 National Research Council (NRC) and National Academies (NAS) report on strengthening forensic science identified the lack of formal standards as a major issue. Where such standards do exist, such as the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM International) forensic standards, they are usually very specific to a particular technique. This paper describes the development of a different approach in Australia. Recognizing the end-to-end nature of the forensic enterprise from crime scene to the court, a standard has been developed that is intentionally not discipline-specific. In four parts, this standard (AS 5388) covers the recognition, recording, recovery, transport and storage of material (Part 1,) the analysis of material (Part 2), interpretation (Part 3), and reporting (Part 4). The management of the process that was used to develop this standard is described, and lessons for the future development of standards identified and discussed. Finally, how this standard can be used as a platform for the development of discipline standards and as an international standard is discussed.


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