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The reserve slide for DNA analysis (reserve slide)

The reserve slide for DNA analysis (reserve slide) is a smear taken from one of the forensic bodily samples collected during the initial medico-social intervention.

The reserve slide must be used in all cases of sexual assault where the assailant’s genetic profile can be identified. This slide must therefore be used for each forensic kit and each medico-social kit when the assault occurred within the past 5 days and when a forensic sample is pertinent.


When and how to prepare the reserve slide:

Depending on the circumstances of the sexual assault, the specimen collected for the reserve slide should be taken from the site that is most appropriate for identification of the assailant’s DNA. The logical sequence should be followed for the specimen. Further information on how to identify the most relevant samples to be taken based on the type of assault can be found in the Guide d’intervention médicosociale (in French), in Annexe 8, Lame de réserve pour l’ADN : choix du prélèvement, under Étape 4 : Examens médical et médicolégal, tests et prélèvements.

The victim must be informed of the existence of this slide and provided with an information sheet. These sheets can be found in the Guide d’intervention médicosociale (in French), in Annexe 9A, Information à l’intention des victimes d’agression sexuelle concernant la lame de réserve pour l’analyse de l’ADN, or Appendix 9B, Information for sexual assault victims concerning the DNA analysis reserve slide, under Étape 4 : Examens médical et médicolégale, tests et prélèvements.

Once the specimen has been collected, the slide is kept at the designated centre, not placed in the forensic kit.


Storage procedure for the reserve slide

Each blue box containing the reserve slide must be sealed with a self-adhesive label from the establishment, on which the date of collection of the specimen is indicated. It must also be identified with at least two other pieces of information to enable the designated centre to locate it if it has to be retrieved by the police to be turned over to the Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale.

The following additional information can be included:

  • Last name of the victim.

  • File number of the user.

  • Forensic kit number.


Storage location of reserve slides

Following a medico-social intervention, team members must be able to return the reserve slide to its designated location, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Slides must be kept under lock and key.

  • Access to slides must be controlled.

  • The medico-social team at the designated centres is at all times responsible for the reserve slides. So, regardless of where the slides are stored, even if they are in department X, only members of the medico-social team can transport them, store them and, if needed, turn them over to the police or destroy them.


Subject to compliance with these rules, several models are possible:

  • All slides are kept in the emergency room in a locked refrigerator or dedicated cupboard. To access the keys, it is necessary to sign a register/scan an ID card. A pre-established list determines who has access.

  • Following the medico-social intervention, the slides are transported by a team member to the location where practical follow-up (follow-up on the desire to make a report to the police, for example) is taking place. This can be another department, an outpatient clinic, etc.


Reserve slide register

A good practice is for a designated centre to keep a register of reserve slides, which can be adapted to the manner in which the boxes are organized and to the filing system used. This register can be in paper or electronic format, but must always be kept in a secure and accessible location or system. Here are some examples of the type of information that can be included:

  • Last name of the victim

  • Victim’s date of birth

  • User file number

  • Forensic kit number, if applicable

  • Date of creation of the reserve slide

  • First and last name of the person who stored the reserve slide

  • Location where the reserve slide is stored

  • Date the reserve slide was turned over to the police, if applicable

  • Last and first name of the person who turned over the reserve slide


Retention period for reserve slides

Reserves slides are to be kept at the designated centre in a locked, controlled-access location until 100 years after their creation or 5 years after the victim’s death, whichever comes first.


Turning over of the reserve slide

The reserve slide is evidence of last resort that could be used to identify the DNA of the perpetrator(s) of the sexual assault during a police investigation, should the victim later decide to report the sexual assault to the police. In this case, the reserve slide may be handed over to the police if:

  1. The forensic kit has been destroyed, or;

  2. The reserve slide was collected as part of a medico-social kit.


In the case of a report filed with the police, the consent of the victim, or of the person able to consent on their behalf, must be recorded on the “Form respecting consent and submission of the reserve slide for DNA analysis.” The form can be completed by the police department or by the designated centre, depending on which of the two is in contact with the victim following his or her decision.

Consent forms for the submission of the reserve slide, in French and English, should be ordered from the same address where the forensic and medico-social kits are assembled, i.e.:

Les ateliers MIRA-DOR

Établissement de détention — Sherbrooke

1055 Talbot Street

Sherbrooke, Quebec, J1G2P3

Tel.: 819 820-3100

Fax: 819 820-3624

The Support Service team
Allied with designated centres across Québec


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