SCR calls for national guidance on DNA and genetics

A serious case review on two women repeatedly raped and made pregnant by their father over 35 years has made national recommendations about the use of DNA in cases of incest and the role of genetics in child protection and safeguarding.

Following the jailing of the father in November 2008 prime minister Gordon Brown said: “if there is a change to be made in the system and the system has failed, we will change the system as a result of the inquiries”.

As a result of his comments the 40-page SCR executive summary published by Sheffield and Lincolnshire safeguarding children boards made eight national recommendations, as well as inter-agency changes.

Most centre on the need for government guidance and training for professionals in child protection on incest, intrafamilial sexual abuse and rape, and the use of DNA in such cases, as well as the role of genetics and geneticists in child protection and safeguarding.

The SCR found that although almost all the agencies involved suspected incest it was never formally recorded because professionals felt there was no evidence that could be used to challenge the family.

This was despite the fact that two of their seven children had severe physical disabilities and the daughters had lost nine babies as the result of genetic disorders which only occur when both parents were the carriers of a genetic abnormality.

The SCR also made a national recommendation on guidance for all frontline professionals dealing with families who are difficult to engage or hostile. The father in the case was violent and moved his family 67 times over the period examined.

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