Home > Publications > Non-fatal strangulation in physical and sexual assault

Non-fatal strangulation in physical and sexual assault

This guidance has been amended following advice from forensic scientists at the June 2023 meeting of the Forensic Science Subcommittee.

Low adhesive tape is often used to successfully recover fibres, other debris and DNA from the skin surfaces of deceased individuals at a crime scene.

However, the general consensus is that if an individual is mobile following non-fatal strangulation there is such a low expectation of the persistence of fibres on a skin surface (expect to be lost through movement of the individual, contact with other surfaces, etc.) that tape samples from an area of bruising etc., would unlikely recover significant material.

If there is an injury such as an abrasion and fibres are visible within the wound, then forceps/tweezers would be a more appropriate recovery method. If consideration is for DNA recovery only, then swabs would be the most appropriate sampling method.