Disaster Victim Identification (DVI)

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Disaster Victim Identification (DVI)

Our RAI certified Forensic Anthropologists and CIfA accredited Forensic Archaeologists attend mass fatality scenes and mortuaries, and provide expert opinion on the location, recording, recovery and identification of human remains.  

Our experts can be deployed across the UK and internationally (including to military theatres of operations) assisting NGOs, civilian, and military police officers with the recovery and identification of victims of war crimes, terrorist incidents, air crashes and large-scale fatal fires. Our senior scientists are trained and experienced in working in hostile environments having deployed to locations such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Kuwait.

The forensic archaeologists and anthropologists use techniques such as photogrammetry, Total Station, and survey-grade GPS systems to quickly record body parts at scenes. Where remains are buried, for example in explosions, fatal fires and collapsed buildings, we employ archaeological excavation techniques to recover them according to context and layer. This means that the circumstances at the time of the incident can be reconstructed, enabling us to provide opinion on victim location within a property and sequence of building collapse.

Specific Assistance at a mass fatality scene

This includes:

  • Mapping, recording and recovering widely dispersed unburied bodies, body parts and small fragments of burnt and unburnt bone using Interpol documentation
  • Preliminary identification of smaller body parts, fragments and burnt remains
  • Preliminary estimation of minimum numbers of victims
  • Triage of body parts for recovery and fast-tracking for positive identification
  • Mapping, recording and excavating mass graves

Post-mortem examination and reconciliation phase

During the post-mortem examination and reconciliation phase of a DVI operation our senior Forensic Anthropologists can provide specialist assistance with:

  • Setting up and managing workflows through temporary mortuaries
  • Examination and identification of smaller burnt and unburnt body parts
  • Interpretation of postmortem CT images
  • Collection of appropriate DNA samples
  • Reconciliation of body parts with DNA results, production of body maps and specialist victim ID summaries
  • Provision of evidence for the ID commission, particularly in relation to burnt and highly fragmented remains where DNA analysis Is not possible
  • Information on the biological profile of the deceased (age, sex, stature, ancestry, identifying features) where no antemortem data is available for comparison

Prior to a mass fatality incident occurring, our Forensic Anthropologists and Archaeologists can assist by contributing towards mass fatality resilience plans and producing SOPs relating to our expertise. We also provide specialist DVI training and assistance with capacity building.

Our anthropologists and archaeologists will be able to advise, recommend and work alongside other specialists such as forensic pathologists, odontologists, and imaging experts to provide a fully managed DVI service.

To find out more about our forensic services Tel: 01235 774870 to speak with a member of our team or fill-in our online contact form.

Are you looking for a DVI Expert Witness?

Get in touch with our casework team.

Are you looking for a DVI Expert?

Fill in our online contact form or Tel: 01235 774870 to speak with our team.

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