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How can DNA Evidence be Used in a Child Abuse or Molestation Case?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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When a child is subject to the abuse or molestation by adult teacher, coach, teacher’s assistant, volunteer, neighbor, or other person, DNA evidence can be used to establish a case or claim against the perpetrator and possible other entities. DNA evidence is not always available or collected in each case. Because the DNA evidence can be a powerful tool in helping establish a civil or criminal case involving the abuse or molestation of a child, investigators will typically inquire and research whether DNA evidence can be obtained. There are various sources of DNA evidence following the abuse or molestation including the following:

Medical Examination. This can be performed on child to determine if there are any fluids, saliva, skin or other forms of DNA that was left on the child’s body or in the child’s body. Timing is vital for a medical examination since bathing or the mere passage of time will make the collection of evidence unobtainable in many cases.

Physical Evidence. In addition to or as an alternative to a medical examination if one cannot be performed for timing or other reasons, DNA evidence may also be left on physical evidence including clothing, underwear, bedding, furniture, telephone, and other locations / physical objects.

Because crime scenes and other areas are often times contaminated, cleansed, or otherwise made unusable for evidence collecting purposes, it is important that incidents of abuse or molestation be timely reported so that potential DNA evidence can be preserved for further study and possible admission as evidence in a civil or criminal case. Furthermore, it should be noted that investigators are trained as to the proper the proper custody control and preservation of DNA evidence. Because of this it is important that investigators are called in early on in order to obtain this evidence. Should be noted that DNA evidence is not not required in order to establish a case of abuse or molestation. Other evidence can be used including the very statements of the perpetrator in order to establish a case for abuse and molestation.