‘‘‘It could just be an additional test couldn’t it?’:genetic testing for susceptibility to aggression and violence

Much of the current genetic research into aggressive and violent behaviour focuses on young people and might appear to offer the hope of targeted prediction and intervention. In the UK data is collected on children from various agencies and collated to produce ‘at risk of offending’ identities used to justify intervention. Information from behavioural genetic tests could conceivably be included. Regulatory frameworks for collecting, storing and using information from DNA samples differ between the health service and the police particularly in the need for consent and the treatment of children. This paper draws on discussions with professionals involved with ‘problem’ young people to consider their views on the utility of genetic research for tackling violent/aggressive behaviour and the impact an identification of genetic susceptibility might have on their clients.
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