FNSC5615 Medicolegal Death Investigation

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit comprises two interrelated modules on the disciplines of Forensic Entomology and Pathology. Each module consists of a variety of lectures and laboratory/field sessions: (1) Forensic Entomology component—introduction to forensic entomology; insect structure and function; WA Department of Agriculture visit; forensic entomology; succession and ADD (accumulated degree days); aquatic insects; insect structure and taxonomy; and simulated crime scene practical at Harry Waring Marsupial Reserve; (2) Pathology component—coronial system; post-mortem changes; time of death; injuries and gunshot injuries; drowning deaths; asphyxia; electrocution; fire-related deaths; death from natural disease; introduction to toxicology (drugs and alcohol); special deaths and hidden homicide; and mass disasters.
Students are able to (1) understand the relationship between medicine and the law, specifically relating to the detection and interpretation of changes associated with death; (2) have basic knowledge of the causes of natural deaths, and the distinction between natural and violent death; (3) gain knowledge of the indicators of death due to poisons and intoxication; (4) gain awareness of common forensic problems such as the detection of hidden homicide and identification of visually unidentifiable bodies; (5) understand the structure and function of insects; (6) be aware of insect ecology and insect succession; (7) have the skills to identify insects to order; (8) develop an understanding of the reproductive cycles of insects of forensic significance, and how this information can be used to determine the post-mortem interval; (9) develop crime-scene management and evidence collection skills, with a focus on insect material; and (10) appreciate appropriate protocols for handling and rearing insect specimens.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical work; (2) court report (entomology); and (3) final theory examinations. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Daniel Franklin and Ambika Flavel
Unit rules
FNSC8503 Forensic Pathology, FNSC8561 Forensic Entomology
Contact hours
lectures: 2–3 hours per week; labs: approx. 2–3 hours per week.
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