Five campaigners walked across active volcanoes on the holiday island of Lanzarote in a quest to get parental alienation viewed as a crime across the world.
One of them Andrew John Teague, who has walked thousands of miles in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, told how he and his mates had been ‘blistered, battered and drowned’ in the gruelling marathon.
He said: “It was incredible, we’d never really experienced those kind of weather extremes, one minute were were waterfalls of sweat, the next we were drowning in torrential rain.
“All the signs of family courts were contained in that weather though. Somehow the storms on Timanfaya came to represent the devastation and carnage caused by family courts in the UK and their counterparts across the world.
“That’s the reason why we intend to walk across continents to tell people of the evil committed against parents across the world.”
Timanfaya National Park stands in south-western part of the island and is entirely made up of volcanic soil. The walkers with Andrew were Brandon Ecclestone, Jonathan Wilkes, Nikki Savory and Nick.
It is so hot there that a restaurant in the park uses the geothermal heat for cooking.
Much of Spain’s south coast was on a yellow alert while the group from D.A.D.S (Dads against double standards), a Facebook group with more than 20,000 member, were making their walk. Andrew is also a founder of NAAP, the national association of alienated parents.
Andrew, who began his campaign two years ago in Swansea, South Wales, has been inundated with calls from Europe – including Spain, Slovakia and Poland – where the understanding of parental alienation has been growing quickly.
It has grown so much, in fact, that victims are contacting D.A.D.S. for copies of a DVD produced by the NAAP which is being sent to every school in the UK.
Andrew said; “Parental alienation isn’t just a British problem to be faced with a stiff upper lip – it is world-wide and right now people in Europe are reaching out to us.
“Nobody knows, but there could be millions of victims. But we do know that more than 100,000 people in the UK a year lose contact with their children because of the actions of vindictive and cruel ex-partners.”
Andrew was asked to make the island trek by an alienated mum who lives there.
The European Association, in conjunction with the UK’s Family Separation Clinic, hosted a two day conference in London last year and groups from across the centre of Europe were calling for changes. A similar meeting was held in Prague.
The association now has members from 14 European countries.
Whilst the issue of parental alienation is becoming more widely recognised many delegates said responses are often inadequate and can leave children at risk of serious emotional and psychological harm.
But attitudes towards parental alienation vary from country to country.
Under the Slovak Family Act, for instance, both parents jointly share parental rights and obligations towards a child, irrespective of whether the child is born in or out of marriage or whether the parents live together.
And a parent can only be deprived of their parental rights and obligations (or have them restricted) by courts in serious circumstances.
Despite difference in the law people from across Europe see the value in the DVDs Andrew and members of his group along with NAAP.
The video tells in no uncertain terms how PA affects children and offers guidance on how schools can spot those who are being used as a weapon against one of their parents.
And it pulls no punches, revealing how teachers and members of staff can make things worse by their reactions towards an ‘absent’ parent. Too often they accept as fact information given to them by the parent with care.
Andrew intends to take his marathon protest to Isle of Wight next month and in April there will be a march through London and workshop/conference in Telford.