A retrospective survey carried out at the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (MPFSL) found that nearly one-third of the vaginal swabs received at the laboratory were blood stained (7). Whenever bleeding is noted during the medical examination, the forensic practitioner should communicate to the scientist any possible source for the bleeding. In the MPFSL study, the examining doctors believed that 22% of the blood-stained swabs were attributed to menstruation and 10% to female genital trauma. In the remaining cases, no explanation for the bleeding was given. In these cases, the presence of blood must be interpreted with caution, particularly if in small quantity, because traces of uterine blood may be present at any time of the cycle (7) and, currently, there is no accepted method of differentiating between traumatic or uterine blood (111). Furthermore, even traumatic bleeding may result from consensual sexual acts (see Subheading 8.6.). On rare occasions assailants injure their penises during a sexual act, and this may be the source of blood found in the vagina.

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