DNA samples and identifying information
How can a DNA sample be taken?
- Mouth cell sample
- Hair sample
- Blood sample
Police must use the least painful method available.
Do I have to give a DNA sample?
If police ask for a DNA sample, you can decide whether or not you consent. If you are under 18, a responsible adult can consent or refuse on your behalf.
If you don’t consent, you can still be required by law to provide a sample if:
- you are suspected of or charged with committing an offence that has imprisonment for 12 months or longer as a possible penalty, or
- you’ve have been convicted of a serious offence in the last 6 months.
If you refuse to give a sample when required by law, police can use any force that is reasonably necessary to obtain the sample.
What if I am a victim or a witness?
You might be asked to provide a DNA sample in the form of a mouth swab or hair from your head.
If you are an adult, you can choose whether or not to consent to giving a DNA sample. You cannot be forced to give one.
If the police want a DNA sample from a child, a a responsible person for the child refuses to give consent, the police will need to have a warrant before they can take a DNA sample without consent.
What happens to my sample once it’s been taken?
It will be analysed in a private laboratory to get your DNA profile. This will be stored in a computer database and can be accessed by police around Australia to compare with DNA profiles found at crime scenes.
You can ask for your DNA profile to destroyed if:
- you are found not guilty or your convicted is quashed
- you were a suspect and never charged, or
- you were a victim or a witness.
Otherwise, it will be kept forever.
What other identifying information can the police obtain?
The police can ask your consent to take:
- prints of your hands, feet, or ears
- photographs of you, and
- measurements or impressions of any identifying features.
If you don’t consent, you may still be required to provide the information in certain circumstances.