A group of MPs met with the new Justice Minister Paul Maynard last week in what is seen as a breakthrough in the intense battle to bring the shame of alienating parents, the family court system and Cafcass to the public eye.
The delegation included MPs from the UK, Northern Ireland and Wales who have come on board to fight suicide, broken families, isolated children and ruined lives highlighted over the past three years.
Ivan Lewis MP (Independent), Andrew Bridgen MP (Conservative), Paula Bradshaw MLA (Alliance Party) and Neil McEvoy AM (Independent) attended the meeting.
Paul Maynard agreed to ask the panel overseeing a major review of the family courts system to consider the issue of parental alienation.
The MPs will also be seeking a meeting with the panel itself and will call for a meeting with Lord Justice Cobb who is heading the review.
At the MPs request the Paul Maynardagreed to meet representatives of alienated parents later in the year.
Ivan Lewis, Member of Parliament for Bury South, said: “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
Andrew Bridgen, Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire, said: “Paul Maynard 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, for South Belfast, said: “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.”
Neil McEvoy, Assembly Member for South Wales Central in the National Assembly for Wales, said: “It’s great that we’re starting to see some progress on parental alienation. 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.”
The joy of this breakthrough however turned into more social media attacks with insults and accusations flying.
The argument appears to have about who should claim victory for the inception of the meeting.
At one point the consumerwatchfoundation.com became unfairly embroiled in this.
Editor Leigh G Banks said afterwards: “The main things seems to be over who should claim victory over this meeting …
“Well, we at the consumerwatchfoundation.com say WRONG!
“The thousands of victims of parental alienation in the UK and across the world, are the ones who created this meeting.
“It is them who – despite their heartbreak and loss – have continued to tell their stories publicly, have contacted their MPs and politicians and have stood up to be counted.
“This is a victory for common sense and the common man and woman, this is a victory for getting noticed.
“This is a time to celebrate what has just happened.
“We at the consumerwatchfoundation have spent almost three years banging the drum about parental alienation and have published stories day in and day out … we have brought parental alienation to the attention of the public, politicians and leading journalists … but didn’t start spouting off that we had created this situation, we accept we are part of a major movement.
“But this small victory is part of a bigger war and the victims of parental alienation made it happen.”
In an email Andrew Bridgen MP thanked D.A.D.s (Dads against double standards) for their involvement in the run-up to the meeting and said that the Minister had taken on board many of their ideas and suggestions.
In a press release emailed to the consumerwatchfoundation from the offices of Ivan Lewis MP, Dear Sophie was cited for a document which had been handed over to the Minister.