Prevalence of male DNA on female worn undergarments. How small datasets may support robust opinions in activity level evaluative reporting

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Abstract

In cases of sexual assault, the interpretation of biological traces on clothing, and particularly undergarments, may be complex. This is especially so when the complainant and defendant interact socially, for instance as (ex-)partners or by co-habitation. Here we present the results from a study where latent male DNA on female worn undergarments is recovered in four groups with different levels of male-female social interaction. The results conform to prior expectation, in that less interaction tend to result in less male DNA on undergarments. We explore the use of these experimental data for evaluative reporting given activity level propositions in a mock case scenario. We show how the selection of different populations to represent the social interaction between complainant and defendant may affect the strength of the evidence. We further show how datasets of limited size can be used for robust activity level evaluative reporting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112097
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalForensic Science International
Volume361
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jun 2024

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