A nation’s response to any mass disaster is of vital importance and identification of those who have fallen victim to the disaster is central to that response. The main burden of DVI (Disaster Victim Identification) falls to police forces, aided by specialists such as pathologists, odontologists and forensic anthropologists. The courses delivered by the University of Dundee, which were officially opened by Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister in 2007, have centred on providing police officers from all over the UK with the skills and understanding to allow them to respond to disasters both on the UK mainland and abroad.
The training ensures that they are able to undertake one of the most gruelling, and yet vitally important roles of identification of the deceased, ensuring that loved ones can be returned to their families. Further research opportunities also exist which allow officers to examine disaster victim identification processes closely and develop new processes which can assist the identification process.
A new distance learning course is in the process of development and will be available for national and international staff in the near future.
For those who are interested in the DVI process, two books have been published as a result of the work on this course by staff and students:
Disaster Victim Identification: the Practitioner’s Guide (2010) Black, S., Walker, G., Hackman, L., Brooks, C. DUP, Dundee.
Disaster Victim Identification: Experience and Practice (2011) Black, S.,Sunderland, G., Hackman, L. and Mallet, X. CRC Press, London.