Preserving Evidence

Where it is suspected that a crime has been committed, the police should be contacted immediately and physical, forensic and other evidence should be preserved, see Achieving Best Evidence: Witness Support and Special Measures.

Preserving forensic evidence includes:

  • Disturbing a ‘scene’ as little as possible, sealing off areas if possible.
  • Not removing the clothing of the adult subjected to the alleged abuse.
  • Discouraging washing/bathing.
  • ​Not handling items, which may hold DNA evidence.
  • Removing any bedding, clothing /putting any bedding, clothing which has been removed, or any significant items given to you (weapons etc.) in a safe dry place.
  • Securing phones / laptops that may contain evidence of communication between the adult and the alleged source of harm.

Other evidence can be obtained, or preserved by:

  • Accurate recording of any disclosure using the persons words
  • Not interviewing the adult subjected to the alleged abuse without agreement from the Police
  • Not interviewing any potential witnesses
  • Not alerting the person associated with the alleged source of harm
  • Making a note of your observations in relation to any environmental factors and or context of the situation and the attitude of the people involved and any actions you have taken
  • If the adult subject to the alleged abuse is already receiving services via care/case management or Care Programme Approach routes, this should not preclude a Safeguarding Adults Concern where a concern is raised or abuse is disclosed

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