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The effectiveness of communication of expert opinion: Themes from interviews with police and scientists

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Howes, LM and Kelty, SF and Julian, RD and Kirkbride, P and Kemp, NM, The effectiveness of communication of expert opinion: Themes from interviews with police and scientists, 22nd Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences, 31 August - 4 September 2014, Adelaide (2014) [Conference Extract]


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Abstract

This poster presents preliminary findings of practitioners’ views on communication about forensic scientific evidence in the criminal justice system. Past Australian research indicated that limited opportunities exist for forensic scientists to discuss face-to-face with police the scientific findings relevant to a case. The aim of this project was to better understand the communication needs of scientists and police regarding the scientific evidence in criminal cases. Police officers (who routinely investigate criminal cases involving forensic evidence), and forensic biologists and chemists (who write expert reports) from all Australian jurisdictions were invited to participate in the research. Participants engaged in semi-structured interviews about how well their communication about forensic evidence met their information needs, given their roles in the criminal justice system. The 30- to 60-minute interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed thematically. Findings from analyses conducted to date suggest roles for both formal and informal – and both verbal and written – communication. Informal communication, directly or via a liaison officer, supported formal communication, particularly in serious cases. Informal communication was perceived to be important for the exchange and clarification of information, helpful to police and scientists in their roles. Interviews with police and scientists are ongoing in some jurisdictions.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:police investigators, forensic scientists, communication, qualitative research
Research Division:Studies in Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the Law
Objective Field:Criminal Justice
Author:Howes, LM (Dr Loene Howes)
Author:Kelty, SF (Dr Sally Kelty)
Author:Julian, RD (Professor Roberta Julian)
Author:Kemp, NM (Associate Professor Nenagh Kemp)
ID Code:105205
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-12-14
Last Modified:2015-12-21
Downloads:0

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