A simple paternity test can often solve the problem of proving a child's parenthood. But the issue is that such forcible tests by fathers are banned in several countries, one such being Australia.
In order to escape situations where a "presumed" father is compelled to pay child support for a child which is biologically not his, many Aussie men resort to sneaking a sample of hair or saliva from a child to conduct a DNA paternity test. Now, a proposed law in the land may label this particular act of stealing DNA samples as a criminal offence.
AdvertisementIn protest to such a move, a men's lobby group in Australia objected on Tuesday to the planned law as "the move could force men to pay child support for children who are not biologically their own", said Men's Rights Agency director Sue Price.
Under current laws men are entitled to have money they have paid in child support returned to them if DNA tests prove they are not the father.
"We know of some men who've had orders made in their favor for the money to be returned to them, that the mother should pay the money back," Price told public radio.
She said paternity tests should be mandatory when a woman claimed child support.
"It would eliminate a lot of these problems so at least we could guarantee that they are collecting the money from the right person," she said.
"But of course, they're pretty unwilling to do those sorts of tests."
Some mothers are being forced to pay back as much as 60,000 Australian dollars (40,000 US) in child support to men they wrongly claimed had fathered their children, the Daily Telegraph reported.
However, the government is considering outlawing the non-consensual taking of samples for DNA testing, said Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus.
"Non-consensual genetic testing may involve physical harm, where a bodily sample is taken by force, or emotional harm, where the paternity or identity of the individual is questioned, or genetic predisposition to illness is identified without that person's consent," he said.
The rapid development of genetic technology, allowing testing on hair, saliva and cheek cells, had made tougher laws necessary, he said.