Public awareness of forensic science: A cross sectional study in Lebanon

Paula Romanos
Independent researcher, Beirut, Lebanon
Corresponding Email: [email protected]

Forensic science is the application of science in order to serve the law. Among the vast field of forensics, forensic DNA casework is widely considered as one of the most outstanding types of forensic evidence. To better implement forensic investigation procedures, public awareness of forensic science is crucially required. The aim of this study is to evaluate the level of awareness among Lebanese public community by assessing their knowledge and perception regarding forensics and to question their willingness to participate in the national DNA database or in scientific research. A cross sectional study was conducted over 400 adult Lebanese from both genders residing in the five Lebanese governorates. The survey questionnaire was designed and carried out from August 2021 to February 2022 with 89% as responsive rate. The participants’ characteristics were under study as well as their knowledge and perception statements in the purpose of investigating their relative association through independent t-test. The study revealed that 40% of the participants were aware of the forensic science. In addition, only 26% of the participants are willing to provide DNA sample. Moreover, sex and marital status factors has no impact neither on their public awareness nor on their intention to donate a DNA sample. Nevertheless, characteristics such as age, education, profession, and residency has significant differences. The survey identified that younger, employed, more educated people, and individuals residing in cities showed a better awareness of forensic science and intention to provide a DNA sample. However, it is very early to decisively predict the level of awareness and the rates of participation given the fact that nationwide surveys have yet to be launched. By consequence, awareness campaigns to increase public awareness on the importance of forensics is necessary to reduce concerns and gaps in Lebanese personal knowledge, and to encourage their future participation.

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