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To enable our forensic community to learn from best practices in the use of DNA Evidence to solve cases and prevent violent crime, as well as for humanitarian efforts, we have created a 'DNA Toolkit' of resources below.


Justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime

The Handbook was developed with the recognition that legal, social, economic and cultural realities differ from country to country. The measures proposed in INTRODUCTION 3 the Handbook are therefore not intended to be prescriptive, but to offer a map or compass to countries willing to address the specific needs of child victims and witnesses of crime.


DNA Database Management

This document discusses the different aspects of forensic DNA database management and makes recommendations, where deemed useful.

ABSTRACT by L Meintjes-van der Walt and P Dhliwayo

DNA Evidence - Basis for Conviction

The sufficiency of DNA evidence alone, with regard to convicting accused persons, has been interrogated and challenged in criminal cases. The availability of offender databases and the increasing sophistication of crime scene recovery of evidence have resulted in a new type of prosecution in which the State's case focuses on match statistics to explain the significance of a match between the accused's DNA profile and the crime-scene evidence.


Ethical considerations for human sequences
in environmental DNA

Whereas CV-19 threw us into a world of e-greetings and e-meetings - the new kid on the e-block is eDNA - environmental DNA analysis, a rapidly advancing field with immense potential in conservation and ecology. eDNA involves studying genetic information from environmental samples to understand species distributions and genotypes in ecosystems. While eDNA research offers valuable insights, it also raises ethical concerns, especially when it involves the analysis of human DNA from environmental samples and the information that could be derived from it.

ARTICLE by Ryan Blumenthal

The second part of Locard’s Exchange Principle

Few of us know the second part of Locard’s exchange principle: The degree of contact depends on the intensity, duration and nature of the contact. which will determine the extent of the transfer. These are important considerations to be kept in mind, in the age of Touch DNA.


Gender Based Violence & Femicide

The NSP (National Strategic Plan) aims to provide a multi-sectoral, coherent strategic policy and programming framework to strengthen a coordinated national response to the crisis of gender-based violence and femicide by the government of South Africa and the country as a whole. The strategy seeks to address the needs and challenges faced by all, especially women across age, sexual orientation, sexual and gender identities; and specific groups such as elderly women, women who live with disability, migrant women and trans women, affected and impacted by the gender-based violence scourge in South Africa

OPINION by Prof. Bruce Budowle

Tips for Writing a Paper

Writing a scientific paper is an achievement and is essential to progressing science and developing one’s career. But quality scientific writing, a goal all scientists should strive to achieve, is demanding and requires commitment.


The National Significance of a DNA Revolution

Life has always remained a profound mystery, especially with the issue of inheritance, where no one knew how information was transmitted or stored. When it comes to the stability of life over a huge amount of time and its mutability in evolution, the DNA molecule forms a bigger part of the story than any individual might have thought.


Identifying the deceased at a South African medico‑legal mortuary

The Forensic Pathology Services (FPS) is legally mandated to perform postmortem investigations of all cases of unnatural death in South Africa .


Handbook on Forensic Evidence Processing in GBV cases

The new concise Handbook on Forensic Evidence Processing in GBV cases, launched at the UNODC ROSAF side event at #CCPCJ33 in Vienna, provides over 40 recommendations to guide forensic science capacity building in Southern Africa ( *checkout chapter 14 on forensic science capacity development). Let’s help drive forensic capacity building programs to ensure sustainable investment in all forensic science disciplines, including the creation of a national DNA database, resourcing of forensic units, and establishment of one-stop centers.

OPINION by Prof. Bruce Budowle

The importance of publishing

We would like to encourage more publications from Africa, as these help with getting funding and support for the development of DNA infrastructure and policy in the region. ​Prof. Bruce Budowle is one of the most published forensic scientists in the world and has written a piece exclusively for DNAforAfrica about the impact publishing has on driving DNA policy in developing countries.

ARTICLE by Prof. Bruce Budowle

Revisiting informed consent in forensic genomics in light of current technologies

Informed consent is based on basic ethical principles that should be considered when conducting biomedical and behavioral research involving human subjects. Read this article to learn how to ensure, in our pursuit of the truth, that it is done ethically and with consent.


Science in the Judicial Process

Science in the Judicial Process: The Expert's Role and Professional Responsibilities. Many forensic scientists find testifying in court challenging if not, terrifying! Many have not yet testified, and have interests in learning about the role of an expert witness.Join our panel discussion on Wed, 19 April 2023 at 4pm (CET) and engage with our world renowned and experienced Panelists who tackle the challenging question of what constitutes a 'good expert witness’ as well as discuss controversial practices they have seen within the judicial legal system.




It is hoped that this booklet will help members of the public to understand the new legislative provisions and in the end, help them to give effect to state obligations under the laws.


Volume 7 - July 2023
Forensic Science International

Forensic Science International: Reports is a gold open access journal which fosters information and knowledge exchange through the dissemination of foundational science, case reports, mini reviews, population data, and informed opinion across all disciplines within the forensic sciences. The journal also welcomes the reporting of negative results and validation studies.


Convicted Offender Act Mandatory DNA sampling

Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act 8 of 2022

South Africa has passed a new law that mandates that convicted offenders must have their DNA samples taken prior to release or being eligible for parole and the resultant DNA profile must be added to the DNA database. This new law will help solve cold cases and discourage recidivism especially in sexual violence cases.


Making Sense of Forensic Genetics

This guide shares what DNA analysis can currently do in the criminal justice system, what its limitations are, and what might be possible in the future. It includes graphics and real-life cases where DNA evidence has been a game changer in investigations as well as where its misuse has led to miscarriages of justice. We hope this guide will be a useful resource to anyone who works with, or crosses paths with DNA evidence in the criminal justice system.


Evaluating the CURRENT STATE of crisis response to sexual assault

Following discussions with African criminal justice professionals about issues of sexual violence in 2019, RAINN set out to conduct a study about the existence and quality of crisis response to sexual assault in six African nations. The aim of this research was to identify the availability of comprehensive post-rape care for survivors, and the capacity to hold offenders accountable through DNA evidence.


See posters from our

from the 3rd Forensic DNA Sympisium, held in Cape Town, South Africa.

CASE STUDY by Innocent Makasa

The need for
Forensic Science Regulation

Forensic science has gained popularity in resolving crime and humanitarian catastrophes. On a daily basis, countries globally are using some form of forensic science to resolve crime, with reports of such cases all over social media. The forensic industry has revolutionized the way crimes are detected and investigated, and its importance cannot be over-emphasized.


Police powers: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 factsheet

Contents: 1. What are we going to do? 2. How are we going to do it? 3. Background 5. Frequently asked questions


Dr Andrzej Ossowski
The creation of PBGOT

The Polish Genetic Database of Victims of Totalitarianisms (PBGOT) project has carried out archaeological exhumations at the Powązki Military Cemetery that has resulted in the recovery of skeletal remains of victims of Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes in several mass graves. The database serves as a central repository of genetic information of the victims’ DNA and that of the victims’ nearest living relatives, with the goal of making a positive identification of the victims.

GUIDE Sexual Assault Kits

What can DNA tell you about crime?

The recommendations in this document are not mandated by any governing body but provided as recommended best practices based on research, well-established processes from other disciplines, extensive professional experience of the working group members, and input from the public. While it relates specifically to USA best practices allowed in their criminal justice system, it has global application.


Humanitarian Mine Action and Humanitarian Forensic Action

Humanitarian mine action (HMA) and humanitarian forensic action (HFA) have had a global impact in recent decades. However, these two areas could work more closely together in view of some of the contexts in which they operate.

GUIDE - Promoting DNA awareness

DNA CSI - Fighting Crime with Science

This guide is developed to create DNA awareness around DNA evidence and DNA profiling in South Africa. It includes information for victims of crime, how to manage a crime scene and explains how DNA databases work to secure justice.

INFO - Swiss Institute of Comparative Law

The regulation of the use of DNA in LAW ENFORCEMENT

The use of DNA and DNA analysis in law enforcement requires the balancing of the societal interests in solving crimes and safeguarding people’s safety against citizens’ (privacy) rights, freedoms and guarantees.

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