In our general election manifesto we explored two forms of paternity fraud (pp 52-54):
– leading a man to believe he’s the biological father of a child, when he’s not. A crime under the Fraud Act (2006) for which the state never prosecutes the woman concerned. Men have to take out civil actions – not many could afford to do so – and cannot get financial compensation for the expense they incurred whilst unwittingly supporting children who were not theirs. At the most they might get compensation for emotional suffering, invariably under £20,000, usually under £10,000
– frustrating a contraceptive method in order to become pregnant – most commonly, a woman ‘forgetting’ to take the daily contraceptive pill
Our manifesto proposals in this area:
1. The government should introduce compulsory paternity testing for all new-born babies, and both parents should be informed of the result of the tests (verbally and in writing) within a week of the babies’ births. If a man is not the biological father of a baby, he should be informed of the fact in the course of a face-to-face meeting with a health professional, and sign a document confirming he’s been made aware of his non-paternity of the child in question.
2. The state should only require a man to have financial responsibility for a child if he’s previously signed a legal declaration that he’s willing to support a child who results from the sexual relationship in question, and a paternity test has proven him to be the child’s biological father.
3. Legislation should be introduced requiring women found guilty of committing the first form of paternity fraud to compensate the affected men for the full sum of their financial contributions to the child’s upbringing.
4. Paternity fraud is such a grave assault upon the human rights of men and children that attempted (but failed) paternity fraud should attract a minimum three month prison sentence. Where a woman has carried out a proven paternity fraud, her minimum prison term should be 12 months. Where the fraud has continued for more than three years, her prison term should be 12 months plus three months in prison for each year of fraud. Frauds relating to two or more children should attract consecutive, not concurrent, sentences.
5. DNA samples should be destroyed as soon as results are known and communicated to both the mother and the putative father, or as soon as criminal prosecutions and any appeals are completed.
We turn to a Daily Mail story sent to us by Ian, which concerns a third form of paternity fraud, a woman leading a man to believe he’s NOT the biological father of a child – here. An extract from the article gives a sense of the problems faced by men in the area of paternal rights:
After putting his name (the gay best friend’s name) on the birth certificate, the pair persisted with their elaborate story, duping the NHS, the local registrar and council officials in a scam which rumbled on for nearly three years.
As his suspicions grew, Mr North (the true father) reported the fraud to police. But he was told to pursue the case as a civil, rather than criminal matter. He also tried to go through social services but had no parental right because he was not named on the birth certificate.
But, in May 2013, when his girl was 27 months, Mr North finally won the right to a DNA test. That showed that he was 99.99 per cent certain to be the father.
At that time, Yates ‘went into hiding’, moving to Glasgow with the child. It took months for Mr North to finally be able to see his daughter and, even then, he was only allowed supervised contact with her for half an hour a week.
He was also banned from revealing that he was the little’s girl father and instead had to pretend he was a friend.
Compulsory paternity testing at birth would have prevented this debacle.