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My Reply to Ministry of Justice on Parental Alienation Law Changes

To introduce a law that recognises Parental Alienation as a criminal offence.

Petition Link

A petition was set up to recognise Parental Alienation as a criminal offence, which to me makes perfect sense. Why? Because it is a form of emotional abuse and not enough is being done about it currently. I won’t go into it as I have already written my reply to the Ministry of Justice.

This is the Ministry of Justices reply to the petition

The Government is aware of the difficulties that parents can face in continuing a relationship with their child following parental separation or divorce, sometimes because of the obstructive behaviour of the other parent. We recognise that such behaviour causes great harm to children, particularly in situations where children are already distressed by the break-up of their family.

“Parental alienation” describes a situation where a child’s resistance or hostility towards one parent is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by one of their parents in order to undermine or interfere with the relationship with the other parent.

The Government is confident that the family justice system can robustly address such behaviour when it is alleged in child arrangements cases and we are continuing to strengthen our work in this area.

The legal framework which governs family law cases is gender neutral. There is a statutory presumption that the involvement of either parent in the child’s life will further the child’s welfare, unless the contrary can be shown. In reaching decisions in cases about the child’s upbringing, the court must consider the child’s ascertainable wishes and feelings and how capable each of the parents are of meeting the child’s needs.

In making decisions about child arrangements, the family court may seek social work analysis and recommendations from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass). Cafcass practitioners are aware of the potential for children to be influenced by parental views and are alive to this issue when it is raised in child arrangements cases. Any concerns of alienating behaviours by a parent will be reported to the court when assessing the children’s best interests, which includes assessing the level of parental influence on a child’s wishes and feelings. The focus is on the safety and welfare of the children in each case.

Cafcass is continuing to develop its work in addressing parental alienation when it arises in child arrangements cases. Cafcass launched the Child Impact Assessment Framework (CIAF) last year. The framework includes various tools and guidance that further support its practitioners in identifying how individual children are experiencing parental separation and helps assess the impact of different factors on a child, including alienating behaviour by a parent. Further information is available on the Cafcass website at www.Cafcass.Gov.UK.

Exceptionally, in cases of persistent parental alienation over time, the family court may decide that the child’s longer-term welfare is best served by a transfer of the child’s residence from one parent to the other. The alienating parent’s involvement can then be facilitated by the other parent. Such decisions are, however, profound for the child and are never taken lightly.

Ministry of Justice.

My reply to Ministry of Justice


[google-drive-embed url=”” title=”Reply Letter to Ministry of Justice 11-05-2019.pdf” icon=”” width=”100%” height=”600″ style=”embed”]


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