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Paternity Testing for 10-Year-Old Girl


Indeed, in many cases both mother and child can be seriously affected for the worse where the identity of the father remains in doubt or is not believed by others. Unfortunately, the need to identify the biological father is often based on criminal necessity, with the recent case of a 10-year-old South African girl who was allegedly raped and impregnated by her 21-year-old uncle proving how useful paternity testing can be – even in the most dire of circumstances.

Mitchell’s Plain in South Africa lies within 20 kilometres of Cape Town. The area is not the most affluent in the country and it was one of the original ‘coloured townships’ created under apartheid rule. Nevertheless, the case of the 10-year-old girl has shocked the region – and the country, for that matter – not least because the girl herself is still only a child. Indeed, it remains fairly common for young teenagers to become pregnant in South Africa, which is obviously not desirable but is hardly a problem exclusive to the country. However, when a child as young as 10 falls pregnant, the community understandably takes notice. Children having children puts lives in danger and, assuming the mother and baby survive the ordeal, it places enormous mental and emotional strains on those involved.

Noreen Ramsden, the spokeswoman for the Children’s Rights Centre, which is based in Durban, advised that a child of only 10 could not possibly understand the implications of having sex. Moreover, irrespective of whether or not the girl objected to sex, her emotional capacity to give consent was non-existent. Criminal law in South Africa determines that sex with any girl under the age of 16 is rape, at least generally speaking. Thus, it comes as little surprise that the man who had sex with the 10-year-old was arrested and charged with statutory rape. Unfortunately, the case is made all the more tragic for the alleged man’s relationship with the girl – that he is her uncle. As paternity testing is carried out to determine whether the uncle is in fact the biological father of the unborn child, it is important to recognise that paternity testing does not provide a definitive answer in all cases.

It is possible to exclude a candidate male as the biological father of a child to an accuracy of 100%, although it remains possible that the test itself could have been compromised before reaching the laboratory. Paternity testing is also able to include a candidate male as the biological father to an accuracy of 99.99%. In fact, advanced paternity testing methods are now capable of an even greater accuracy of up to 99.9999%, meaning that there is a 1 in 100,000 chance of another random male in the population producing the same DNA results. In the present case, testing will be conducted when the child is born.