Ministry of Justice & Parental Alienation #parentalalienation #TotalReform
I would firstly like to thank Paula Bradshaw MLA, Andrew Bridgen MP, Ivan Lewis MP & Neil McEvoy AM for taking them time to raise this important issue to MOJ. I have been long campaigning with other campaigners to have Parental Alienation officially recognised and taken seriously her in the UK.
This is what Neil McEvoy AM had to say on his blog
Yesterday, a delegation of MPs met with new Ministry of Justice Minister Paul Maynard MP to discuss the issue of Parental Alienation and the failure of the current family law system to protect child and adult victims. Too often children have no contact with their non-resident parents on a long-term basis despite there being no evidence of abuse or harm.
The delegation handed over a formal submission from ‘Dear Sophie’ campaigners to the Ministry of Justice for consideration as part of their current review of the Family Justice System. The Minister agreed to ask the expert panel overseeing the review to consider the issue of Parental alienation. The MPs will also be seeking a meeting with the panel.
It was also agreed that the MPs will seek a meeting with Lord Justice Cobb who is undertaking a review of the current system on behalf of the President of the Courts Family Division.
At the MPs request the Minister agreed to meet representatives of alienated parents later in the year to hear at first hand of their traumatic experiences.
Ivan Lewis Member of Parliament for Bury South stated:
“Parental alienation is a human tragedy which can cause serious harm to children and parents alike. This meeting and the Ministers positive response was an important step forward. We will now build on this by seeking appropriate changes to the way family courts operate so Parental alienation is recognised as a serious issue which requires a fresh approach.”
Andrew Bridgen Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire stated:
“It was pleasing that the newly appointed Minister, Paul Maynard MP, listened to our presentation. It’s clear he appreciates this as a real issue, causing distress to both children and their estranged parents, and this will be included in the consultation on the current family law reform”.
Paula Bradshaw Member of Legislative Assembly (Northern Ireland) for South Belfast stated:
“Court induced child estrangement and parental alienation can be avoided if there is clear policy and guidance for our judiciary. This will require work and restructuring among support agencies, such as Cafcass, however for the short- and long-term needs of children caught into their dreadful situation, it will be worth it. For me, the deliberate denigration of one parent by another to their child(ren) to cause alienation is a serious form of domestic abuse and the sooner wider society and the judiciary, in particular, recognise it for what it is, the better.”
It's been a good day in London. I feel like the UK Government is starting to listen when it comes to tackling #ParentalAlienation. This is just the beginning and we've been invited back. Positive stuff. Welsh Governmemt needs to get on this too.
Neil McEvoy Assembly Member for South Wales Central in the National Assembly for Wales stated:
“It’s great that we’re starting to see some progress on parental alienation. It affects so many people; mums, dads, grandparents and the children themselves. I have confidence that the UK Government will keep listening after our positive first meeting with the Ministry of Justice. The under Secretary of State did assure us that there would be further talks and I welcome that. What was clear from giving evidence was that parental alienation is a common experience not just in Wales, but in England and Northern Ireland too. I hope the Welsh Government can take note from this meeting and start taking parental alienation seriously.”
Note to Editor
Parental Alienation usually occurs in an acrimonious divorce where a child ceases contact with the non-resident parent. This is despite there being no evidence of any abuse or harm and is frequently caused by the influence of the other parent. It is common for the child to seek to resume contact as a teenager or young adult when they leave home.
This can have a devastating long-term psychological impact on the child which continues into adulthood, and frequently leads to severe mental health problems for the alienated parent.
In a ground-breaking development, the World Health Organisation have recently adopted Parental Alienation (PA) as a health warning, ICD 11 explicitly defining PA as cause of potential serious health challenge. – based on evidence it is a very important contributor to decline in health.
I would firstly like to say I am sorry to the fathers out there they will not get the opportunity to celebrate father’s day with their beautiful children due to Parental Alienation. There is no excuses for this type of behaviour towards you but know one thing your child/ren will appreciate the effort you made fighting for them. I miss more daughter more than any words could ever describe and one day she will know and understand this directly from me and no one else.
So, I know today will be hard and you might not be in the mood to interact with anyone as everything today will remind you of father’s day and not seeing your child/ren. Just a thought if you have the strength to do this write a letter to your child explaining exactly how you feel and how much you miss them. They may not be able to see it today but one day they will and it will mean the world to them to know how much you love and miss them.
You, a father are wonderful and you should never allow anyone to take that away from you. I see how you fight this corrupt biased system and continue that fight because of the love you have for your child/ren. I see what you’re doing and so do the thousands who have shared your journey until this day and no one can ever tell you that you are not a committed father NO ONE!
NOT every father is a perpetrator or abuser these lies have continued for far too long and we will put a stop to it. We will unite as one and show the world how far a father will go for the love of his child/ren, you are not ALONE!
I will include some beautiful quotes to remind you just how special you are and that no one can take that away from you.
Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful, loving, caring and strong men out there
To introduce a law that recognises Parental Alienation as a criminal offence.
Petition Link https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/249833
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.
Today is International Parental Alienation Day, please show your support by changing your profile picture on your social media to show your support and help raising awareness please.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members. It is a distinctive form of psychological abuse and family violence, towards both the child and the rejected family members, that occurs almost exclusively in association with family separation or divorce, particularly where legal action is involved. The most common cause is one parent wishing to exclude the other parent from the life of their child, though family members or friends, as well as professionals involved with the family (including psychologists, lawyers and judges), may contribute to the process. Parental alienation often leads to the long-term, or even lifelong, estrangement of a child from one parent and other family members and, as a significant adverse childhood experience and form of childhood trauma, results in significantly increased lifetime risks of both mental and physical illness. #parentalalienation #pa #family #children #kids #timeforchange #TotalReform
The myth of “In the Best Interest of the Child” #TotalReform
When you enter the realm of Family Court and Parental Alienation you will be met by a plethora of people and services using the phrase “In the Best Interest of the Child” which is a myth. Why is it a myth because nothing the court or associated services do is 2in the best interest of the child”. In my eyes it should be replaced with “in the best interest of an easy exit route” should be the new phrase.
Like many of us who have gone through the secret family court and let me tell you it is very secret! Don’t be under any illusion that justice will be served for you and your child as the non-resident parent. You’re probably sitting there thinking you have loads of evidence to prove why you should be in your child’s life and that once it has been produced to the court they will see what you have been through. Yes, that is how it should work but unfortunately, in reality, it does not work like that.
You will be lied to and will meet Social Services and CAFCASS on your journey to seeing your children (or not). Most, not all will be very polite and seem very supportive at the beginning which will give you a false sense of security. Then they will submit their reports to the court which you could say is a knife your back is at the entrance of the court. In order for them to get that report into the court, they need to go through you, with your back in the way. This is the polite way of my saying what will happen when you read your reports.
What I have experienced myself and what I have seen with other members/clients the term “In the Best Interest of the Child” is a myth and a smoke screen to provide you with false security. I wish people would be honest about their assessments and just say as much as we would like to help you. We would rather listen and believe the lies we are told in order to have an easy life and wrap these court proceedings up as quick as possible.
I might not like what I hear but at least they would get my respect and not use the term “In the Best Interest of the Child” to smokescreen me. Parental Alienation is a real probably which most Social Service workers and CAFCASS officers can’t identify. Even when identified they are scared to act upon it which leaves you the loving parent without any options to see your child.
Did you know that Parental Alienation is now recognised by the ICD – 11
The World Health Organisation has included “Parental Alienation” in its new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) which was released on June 18, 2018.
The index entry of parental alienation and estrangement means that the ICD-11 recognises the reality of Parental Alienation for Irish children and families.
Parental Alienation is characterised as occurring “when a child/ren allies himself or herself strongly with the caregiver (the alienating or aligned party) and rejects the relationship with the other parent or parents (the targeted or alienated parent or parents) without legitimate justification despite a previous warm and loving relationship. The primary behavioural symptom is the child’s refusal to have contact with the targeted parent or parents”
Parental alienation and estrangement is described as substantial and sustained dissatisfaction within a caregiver-child relationship associated with significant disturbance in functioning.
The literature suggests that parental alienation disproportionately affects young people whose parents are experiencing high conflict relationship breakdowns and predominantly children in state care or adoption. The effects and outcomes usually have a lifelong negative effect on the child. This is manifested in psychological and physical co-morbidities, including, but not limited to, addiction, crimes and suicide.
Neuroplasticity in children can occur with ongoing negative aspects when the child is taught to adopt a dichotomous (black and white thinking) thought process of one parent good one parent bad programming. The neurological effects can have consequences including psychological and cognitive deficits.
Systemic Family Psychotherapist, Brian O Sullivan agrees that Parental Alienation has been a significant psychological and emotional challenge for young people in Ireland affecting them across their life span and on into their families of creation in future generations for some time now, the inclusion of parental alienation in the ICD – 11 is the next appropriate step.
Parental Alienation Support Worker, Andries van Tonder of APS has said that he welcomed the inclusion in the DSM 5 under different terminology, but is now rejoicing in the knowledge that parental alienation has been officially included in the ICD -11 under the code QE52.
There are thousands of Irish families experiencing parental alienation and asking for help. Formal recognition of parental alienation by the ICD – 11 will encourage further research and resources being committed to combating the problem.
Several other conditions that can be associated with parental alienation are listed in ICD-11. Hereunder are some other applicable codes:
QD5Y Other specified problems associated with finances. (Situation caused by exorbitant legal, court reports and therapeutic fees the parent have to pay)
QD71 Problems associated with housing. (Situation after separation or otherwise caused)
QD82 Problem associated with threat of job loss. (Court attendances, stress related illnesses)
QE03 Social exclusion or rejection. (by community or family)
QE60 Absence of family member. (child or parent)
QE61 Disappearance or death of family member (child or parent)
QE62 Uncomplicated bereavement (due to loss of child or parent)
Why do people alienate? (just a few examples)
Clawar (2014) suggests that the following are some of the most common reasons why parents engage in alienation –
• Fear of losing the child
• Proprietary perspective (ownership)
• Child support
• Loss of identity
• Out of sight, out of mind
• Maintaining the marital/adult relationship through conflict
• Power, influence, control, and domination
• Learned Behaviour
• Personality disorder (borderline, narcissistic, paranoid, obsessive-compulsive)
• Parental omnipotence and malleability of the child
• The Asch and Milgram studies
So, the World Health Organisation can recognise it but the people you rely on in court can’t! I know it’s a really bizarre situation but it is the truth most people don’t want to recognise it as it will add to their workloads and ultimately could end up with the removal of a child/ren due to emotional abuse.
My advice is to keep it consistent when talking to the court and associated services and don’t back down as they will try to tell you that your ex-partner is just being difficult and not PA. You can request in court for a psychological evaluation when allegations of mental illness or personality disorder need to be investigated.
The other key phrases you might also come across is “high conflict” and “complex” which will be used a lot when someone does not know what to do or scared to make a real decision.