University Of Tasmania

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Critical forensic studies: generating critical thinking about forensic science among current and future criminal justice practitioners

The analysis of wrongful convictions involving forensic science reveals cases that may have been prevented. Prominent critiques and case-specific inquiries highlight the need for better communication and understanding of the limitations and nuances of forensic science. However, police officers, lawyers and judges typically report having received only a cursory overview of forensic science; they are expected to learn more about it as needed on the job. University education offers current and future professionals an opportunity to build the foundations for understanding and engaging in contemporary debates surrounding forensic science, in turn contributing to greater awareness of the risk of error and a focus on improved practice. This presentation discusses the development and implementation of a unique suite of units in Forensic Studies at the University of Tasmania, offered to students in Criminology, Law, and Policing. The units adopt a critical social sciences perspective and introduce students to key critiques and controversies, as well as innovative research and practice that aim to improve the value and use of forensic science. The presentation draws on student feedback from the past 10 years, and recent reflections from the teaching team to consider whether the units achieve their aims and what might be done to further improve the offerings so that they are best equipped to meet the needs of criminal justice practitioners.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 25th International Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society




1 piece- abstract


School of Social Sciences


Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society

Place of publication


Event title

International Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society

Event Venue


Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Higher education; Criminal justice; Law enforcement