Bar-coded children: an exploration of issues around the inclusion of children on the England and Wales national DNA database
Genomics, Society and Policy 2006 May; 2(1): 41-56
The forensic database of England and Wales is the largest in the world with profiles from over 3 million people. Samples can be taken without consent, not only from convicted criminals, but, also from all those arrested on suspicion of a recordable offence even if they are not subsequently charged. There has been little public debate on the database, in contrast to other applications of genetic technology, and, in particular, a lack of discussion on the inclusion of children despite the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the debate around children s consent. The paper begins by briefly introducing the significance of the inclusion of children on the England and Wales National DNA database (NDNAD) in the context of current law. Next there is a report of the findings of a small focus group study carried out with children aged 10- 12 and one of their parents, who were contacted through their schools. The study explored issues related to the inclusion of children on the NDNAD, including children s responsibility and independence, and gathered responses to real life case studies about the taking of DNA samples from children. These findings are used to further support multi-disciplinary arguments on why the inclusion of children, between the ages of 10-12, may be considered controversial.
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