A woman who says she was conceived through child rape hopes to use her DNA to prosecute her father, describing herself as “a walking crime scene”.
The complainant, who wants to remain anonymous, was adopted at the age of seven months in the 1970s. When she obtained her adoption files at 18 she discovered she was conceived when her 13-year-old mother was raped by a 35-year-old family friend.
“I’d always thought that it was so wrong that my birth father was never prosecuted,” the woman told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. “It was then that I thought, I’ve got DNA evidence, because I am DNA evidence. I’m a walking crime scene.”
The woman is hoping to bring what is called a “victimless prosecution” – where no evidence is submitted by the victim of the alleged crime – because the law does not recognise her as a victim and her mother does not want to be involved in legal action.
Ch Supt Pete Henrick, head of West Midlands police’s public protection unit, said the force had no record of a rape allegation or investigation in 1975. “In 2014, a woman asked us to open an historical investigation. However, the alleged victim did not want to cooperate or provide a statement,” he said.
“In light of this, the woman asked whether she could be identified as a victim herself and if the case could be progressed on those grounds. The law does not recognise this person as a victim in these circumstances: we liaised with the Crown Prosecution Service and were advised they would not support a prosecution.”
The complainant, who was born in Birmingham, said her files detailed how her birth mother was raped by a family friend when she went to babysit at his house. “It says in seven different places in the files that it was rape. The fact that she was 13 means that it was statutory rape because he had sex with a minor,” she said.
“It states his name and address, that social services, police and health workers knew, but nothing was done about it. My birth mum was from a black working-class family and I can’t help thinking attitudes at the time had something to do with that.”
She said she wanted her birth father to be held accountable. “I wanted justice for my mum. I wanted justice for me. The ramifications of what he chose to do have shaped my entire life … and he’s been able to get away with it and just live his life.”
Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, who previously worked for the Women’s Aid Federation of England, said the woman should be considered a victim by the law.
“We have long fought, those of us who have been fighting for women’s justice for many years, for the idea that children in both domestic and sexual violence circumstances have to be considered not just hapless bystanders in those crimes, but in fact they deeply affect their lives,” she said.
Asked if prosecuting the man would be in the public interest, Phillips said: “As somebody whose teenage children live in Birmingham where this alleged perpetrator has been allowed to live completely freely without any action or fear of the law [relating to] what he is alleged to have done – absolutely it is in the public interest.”
Source: The Guardian