Paternity fraud – how common is it?

In our public consultation document we make proposals concerning two forms of paternity fraud:

1. Where a woman covertly makes a form of contraception fail (e.g. by ‘forgetting’ to take the contraceptive pill); and

2. Where a woman leads a man to believe he’s the biological father of a child, when he’s not, with a view to getting him to support the child financially or in other ways.

Both forms of paternity fraud are gross abuses of men’s rights, and it’s well known the first form is common.  The rest of this post is concerned with the second form which – whether achieved or even just attempted – is a crime in the UK. No British woman has ever been convicted of the crime, although we know from a FoI request we made to the CSA earlier this year that it learns of 500+ cases of attempted paternity fraud year each year, where men have insisted on paternity tests and proven they’re not the biological fathers.

The leading British expert on the subject of paternity fraud is Professor Mark Bellis m.a.bellis@livjm.ac.uk. A few days ago I got in touch with him and asked him for information on the incidence of paternity fraud. He pointed me to a very interesting paper he’d co-written in 2005 (link below) which reviewed 35 studies on paternal discrepancy (PD) going back as far as 1957.

131027 Mark Bellis paper re paternity fraud

Rates of PD ranged from 13.0% to 53% in cases where paternity was disputed, and from 0.8% to 30% where PD was discovered, but not due to paternity having been disputed. The 30% figure arose in a study of Southern English families, the paper having been published in 1973.

And people wonder why we’re calling for compulsory paternity testing at birth…

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • I have just read an article on the Guardian where the author (a feminist) dedicates one paragraph to sympathising with the victims of paternity fraud and then spends the rest of her time spewing out hate speech about men and how they deserve it because men are so bad and evil. She did not even devote any of her thoughts to the other victims of paternity fraud, children.

    There definitely needs to be changes made in the court systems but I would say that the more men (and young men) are educated about this type of fraud the more they can do to protect themselves.

    Our culture is so gynocentric that most young men could not perceive women doing this kind of thing. This is where we need change the most. Young men need to understand, that although most women are decent human beings there are plenty out there who are just as capable as men in committing cruel selfish acts.

    We do our best to educate our daughters of the dangers they face in the world and we owe the same to our sons.

  • Terence, many thanks. Do you have a link to the Guardian piece?

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  • William Gruff

    500 is a drop in the ocean. There must be many times that number of estranged or divorced men who never become CSA cases, because they pay the maintenance as ordered, and who knows how many more who think themselves happily married to women they think are faithful.

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