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Following an act of violence in a residential or commercial setting, the police may recommend forensic cleaning occurs. Unlike domestic cleaning, which focuses on general housekeeping and presentation, forensic cleaning focuses on restoring the premises to a condition which is safe and healthy for re-entry.

This form of cleaning involves the removal of visible signs of harm and injury (e.g. fingerprint dusting) and removal of any health-related hazards (e.g. blood and body fluids). Specialist services are often recommended for this type of cleaning, either as a stand-alone service or as a service prior to domestic cleaners entering the premises.

Who organises forensic cleaning?

It is most often the responsibility of the property owner or tenant to organise forensic cleaning. It is recommended, however, that victims of crime obtain legal advice for clarification regarding their individual circumstances. Some insurers will cover the cost of forensic cleaning under landlord insurance.

What to expect from forensic cleaning

Forensic cleaning is a specialist service designed to restore the premises to a condition that is safe and hygienic for re-entry. This is likely to include removal and safe disposal of bio-hazardous material, disinfection, sanitisation and removal of odours, stains and fingerprint dust. It may require the safe removal and disposal of furnishings and floorings, bedding and other materials and items which are difficult to restore. Many hard-furnishings can be treated and cleaned onsite; it is a victim’s right to instruct the service provider on their preferred treatment of these items (i.e. cleaning or removal).

It is important that clear instructions are provided to the service provider about how to treat damaged or affected personal belongings. For example, items can be destroyed or a victim of crime may instead wish for them to be treated and restored; this may, however, impact on the final cost.

What financial assistance is available for forensic cleaning?

Victims of personal crime (including the family members of a homicide victim and victims of family and domestic violence) can apply for financial assistance to help pay for the cost of forensic cleaning. 

Note: Financial assistance may be provided towards the cleaning of victims’ residential properties, and does not provide financial assistance towards forensic cleaning of commercial premises where this would be covered by the owner’s insurance policy.