VIC Branch News

20/06/2023 | Victoria

The Victoria Branch has run three successful seminars this calendar year to date. Liz Porter opened the year with a seminar entitled ‘Untold stories from the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department.’ Liz’s seminar was a presentation on work she had been completing as a part of her PhD recounting stories of the laboratories past with a particular focus on the public servant staff. The second seminar we had was from Sergeant Trevor Blake APM, a retiring police officer and expert in Disaster Victim Identification. Trevor presented a seminar on ‘Disaster Victim Identification in Victoria’ where he recounted some of the many cases he attended over the years. Trevor didn’t shy away from some of the challenges DVI work has on the investigators and the scenarios he worked in. In the third seminar for the year, Dr Hans De Boer gave an insight into ‘A Bayesian approach to forensic pathology,’ the presentation generated much excitement and discussion from the audience. This seminar was also the first presentation at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) for the year. I’d like to extend my thanks to both VIFM and the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department for the use of the facilities for seminars. The local calendar is filling up very quickly with an online presentation for early August and the AGM before the IAFS conference in November.

The branch procured new audio equipment to record presentations where possible this year in recognition that members cannot always attend the seminars due to other commitments but still want to see them. Whilst we are still working through a few teething issues with the equipment we aim to record presentations where possible. The seminars present a unique opportunity to network with colleagues from within the Victorian forensic science community, so members are encouraged to attend events.

There have been a few changes to the local committee – Catherine Shehan has resigned from the committee; I would like to thank Catherine for her contributions to the committee to date and wish her all the very best. At the same time, I would like to welcome Elizabeth Campher to the committee. Elizabeth takes over merchandising for the branch and is already working to refresh the merchandise for a reveal later this year.

All eyes are now turning to the 23rd Triennial Meeting of IAFS in conjunction with the 26th Symposium of the Australian & New Zealand Forensic Science Society in Sydney in November 2023. The Victoria Branch awarded four symposium awards, along with the David Grace Award, and assisted with the Bryan Found Award. Victorian members also received a number of National travel awards. The applications were assessed on their merit including but not limited to the applicants meeting attendance and contribution to the branch and the society, as well as the benefit to the applicant, both personal and professional, and their organisation. I congratulate all the award winners.

Lastly, I am excited to announce that the 27th Symposium of the Australian & New Zealand Forensic Science Society will be held in Melbourne in Spring 2025. Planning is underway, an EOI has gone out to the local membership for those who may like to be involved and any ideas you might have for the conference.

See you all in Sydney,

Joseph Balkwill
ANZFSS Victoria Branch