Cultural and religious issues

In Australia, the groups that most often have concerns are Indigenous people and those of Jewish and Muslim faiths.

Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander

Customs for the handling of a body vary from region to region.

Internal investigations and removing body parts for testing may be sensitive issues. A delay in returning the body for burial might also cause concern.

The Police can include a legal service, police liaison or community member to discuss any requirements or concerns.


Traditional Islamic texts forbid the cutting up of bodies and it is believed the body continues to feel pain after death. Autopsies can, however, be performed to serve justice and for medical and scientific reasons.

The most common reason Muslim families object to an autopsy is because it can delay the burial, which should normally be carried out within 24 hours.


Jewish scriptures generally forbid autopsies, because the body should not be violated after death. Autopsies are permitted where they could help cure others or because the law of the land requires it.

According to Jewish tradition, the entire body should be buried without delay.