Forensic Sciences


Introduction Providing an estimation of the time elapsed since death is a request almost invariably aimed at forensic specialists summoned to the scene of a death. Despite the fact that there has been an extensive literature on this topic for more than a century, this determination still remains difficult, even for experienced pathologists, and must […]


Introduction Stalking has been called a crime of the 1990s. The crime was legally created in 1990, when California passed the first state antistalking law. This legislation was drafted in the wake of five unrelated murders of women who were previously stalked. One of the victims was television actress Rebecca Schaeffer, who was shot and […]

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Introduction When violent crimes are committed, it is not unusual for the participants to be injured. If these injuries are accompanied by blood flow, distinctive bloodstain patterns may result that can be used to provide investigative information about the activities which occurred during the commission of the crime. These distinctive bloodstain patterns occur because of […]

Blood Identification

Introduction Bloodstains are often found at various types of crime scene, such as homicide, hit-and-run, assault, child abuse, rape, robbery and burglary. In addition, forensic scientists are often called upon to examine clothing, weapons, vehicles and other items of physical evidence to determine whether a victim’s or a suspect’s blood has been transferred to those […]


Ethos Serology is defined as the study of the composition and properties of the serum component of blood. Despite this inadequate description of what has colloquially become known as forensic serology, many individuals and laboratories use this rubric to describe a practice that more accurately could be described as forensic biology or biochemistry. ‘Forensic serology’, […]


Introduction Serial murder is a specific type of violence that falls into the crime category of multicide. Multicide distinguishes between the acts of serial murder, mass murder and spree murder. Serial murder is typically defined as a series of three or more separate homicides, with a cooling-off period between each offense, committed at separate locations […]


Introduction This article addresses quality in the forensic science laboratory by considering the following questions: • What are the necessary elements to ensure quality? • How does the laboratory put these in place? • How does it provide objective proof that it has done so? The necessary elements to ensure quality make up the ‘quality […]


Introduction The German psychologist Hugo Munsterberg (18631916) set the agenda for future generations of forensic psychologists in nominating evidence and the workings of the courtroom among the leading concerns of forensic psychology. This article will give a flavor of the contribution of psychological research to these two important areas of forensic psychology. The Psychology of […]


Introduction As is evident from the major texts, the subject matter of forensic psychiatry lies in the application of psychiatric knowledge to offender populations. In principle, this brief extends to all offender groups, although in practice it is the juxtaposition between mental disorder and criminal behavior that is the traditional concern of forensic psychiatry. With […]


Introduction This overview of forensic psychology and psychiatry first gives a distinction between the two disciplines, primarily in terms of professional training. Taking a historical perspective, the development of the two disciplines and their subject matter is then discussed in detail. This historical perspective is then used to set in context current practice within forensic […]