Forensic anthropologists use their expertise in cases of both suspicious and non-suspicious deaths ensuring that all possible evidence is recovered, whilst also ensuring dignity and respect for the deceased.  This requires not only that they are skilled practitioners in forensic anthropology but that they also have an in-depth understanding of the legal framework of whichever country within which they work.   The certification process provided by the RAI ensures that those working in this field can demonstrate their skill level, that they are fully mentored where appropriate and that they are working to standards set by the RAI and endorsed by the Forensic Regulator.

In this section:

Certification of forensic practitioners has gained momentum in recent years although it has proven to be more challenging to achieve for the independent practitioner. This is true for the discipline of forensic anthropology and to address this, the British Association for Forensic Anthropology was formed in 2011. This association has undergone an intensive period of standard setting and validation in partnership with the Royal Anthropological Institute as its professional body. The RAI has a Forensic Anthropology Committee whose main role is to provide oversight of the professional certification process.

The work to date has included the development of:

The certification process aims to provide two things; a transparent, fit-for-purpose guide to end users on the required skill set of the forensic anthropologist and a career pathway for forensic anthropology professionals of the future. The certification process and its development will be presented within the framework of appropriate scientific quality standards now being demanded by the Forensic Science Regulator and criminal justice systems.

Certification of forensic anthropologists are separated into 3 categories which permit police, judiciary or other clients to select a level of experience that is suitable for their needs and to identify geographically local capabilities.

  • Chartered Forensic Anthropologist (FAI) - The highest level of certification and is chartered status. These are highly experienced practitioners who have court room experience.
  • Forensic Anthropologist II - This level includes practitioners who have evidenced competence in both their practical and theoretical knowledge of forensic anthropology. They may not yet have given evidence in a courtroom but they will be mentored by an FAI to assist them in this regard.
  • Forensic Anthropologist III - The practitioners at this level have evidenced that they have some experience and knowledge in the field of forensic anthropology. They may not have yet had real field experience but they will be mentored by either an FAI or an FAII practitioner.

A list of those already certified as Chartered Forensic Anthropologists (FAI) is available here

A list of those already certified as FAII is available here

A list of those already certified as FAIII is available here

Forensic Science Regulator legal guidance

BAFA small grant scheme

BAFA has recently launched a new small-grants scheme. The scheme comprises of a Research grant (£500), a CPD grant (£200) and an essay prize (£200). You can find out more about the application process by contacting BAFA via their website.

If you have any additional queries, please communicate these to the examination board via the email address