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Challenges experienced by Australian forensic practitioners in international disaster victim identification operations

thesis
posted on 2023-05-28, 10:42 authored by Adamovic, N
Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) is an important process in the aftermath of disasters. Australian forensic practitioners contribute to such processes internationally under difficult post-disaster circumstances. The aim of the study was to determine the main challenges experienced by forensic practitioners in overseas DVI operations. Twenty Australian forensic practitioners were interviewed. The participants included DNA analysts, fingerprint examiners, forensic odontologists, forensic pathologists, and mortuary technicians. Participants shared their experiences and perceptions of DVI processes across a broad range of events in which they had participated. Interview data were analysed using thematic analysis. Six main themes were identified: the working environment, project management, interpersonal interactions, personal challenges, social and political factors, and suggestions for improvement. Key findings highlighted the interrelated and overlapping nature of various challenges, and in particular, the importance of the work environment in international contexts. The thesis concludes with implications for practice arising from the findings, such as enhanced pre-disaster preparation and training across forensic disciplines and organisational contexts.

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School of Social Sciences

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Copyright 2022 the author

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