Campaigner Andrew John Teague copped more than a few smiles on the latest leg of his never-ending battle against parental alienation.
After climbing Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, a few days ago few days ago which came hot on the heels of a marathon march to 10 Downing Street, Andrew took his protest to the streets of his home-town, Swansea.
And as he took his ‘shirt off my back’ protest to the city’s courthouse he was treated as a returning local hero.
Even a group of ‘local bobbies’ were happy to pose with him, a picture some see as heralding a change in the heart of the powers-that-be as Andrew and protesters across the world fight to get parental alienation made a crime.
In the photograph – which was tweeted by officers – Andrew is wearing another shirt inscribed with more names of victims of the syndrome. The ‘shirt off my back’ protest is a peaceful endeavour to alert authorities to the number of people who lose contact with their children because of lies told by their ex-partners and the willingness of social workers and family courts to believe them.
Andrew said: “It’s been hard work over the last few weeks and I don’t think I’ve ever known every bit of me ache before. But it’s worth it and we’ll keep going. When the police gathered for a photograph and tweeted it, well it just felt good. They were fantastic.”
His walks have been questioned on social media by people who claim he is only fighting on behalf of fathers facing parental alienation.
However, Andrew has been wearing different coloured shirts along the march to make a silent statement about who the syndrome causes heartache for.
He wears pink t shirt to represent daughters and granddaughters, blue for sons and grandsons, white for mums, black for dads and red for grandparents and extended families.
Andrew also talked about his determination in the battle to make parental alienation a crime and finally, after more than a year of campaigning, there are some glimmers of hope as people in power begin to accept that the syndrome exists.
A spokesman for the Welsh government has pledged to help victims of Parental alienation.
In a statement the devolved government said: “There are benefits children derive from having an ongoing positive relationship with both parents, as long as it is safe and in their best interest.
“To support parents who are separating we are developing information and advice services to help them focus upon how they can best support their children and make arrangements that meet their long term emotional needs.”
This follows an online petition calling on the Welsh Government to recognise PA as a type of emotional abuse of children and parents and proposes funding for mandatory training for professionals.
PA is when one parent undermines the role of the other by turning a child against them following a separation.
Between 2013 and 2016, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in Wales dealt with 22,670 cases involving children.
And Dr Sue Whitcombe, from not-for-profit Family Psychology Solutions, said social workers, psychologists and solicitors should be receiving training.
“This is a severe form of child emotional abuse when at its most severe and pure form and it needs to recognised along with those other types of child abuse,” she said.
There are laws in some countries, including Mexico and Italy, which punish parents who alienate one another.
Andrew, from D.A.D.S (dads against double standards), revealed that more and more he and others running the site are spending time talking to estranged parents who have hit rock bottom as their ex-partners twist their children against them or they come up against the brick wall of bureaucracy which ham-strings courts and social services.
Many parents find it so difficult to see their children that despite paying hundreds of pounds in maintenance they are also paying for supervised access. One man says this costs him EIGHTY pounds a time to spend two hours with his child.
Estranged parents – who have perhaps lost all contact because of lies about them – are certainly vulnerable and sadly to some suicide can appear to be the only way out.
Since Andrew began campaigning less than twelve months ago there have been three major breakthroughs in the battle against Parental Alienation.
Recently, www.consumerwatchfoundation.com reported on a judge who was deciding whether the human rights of two children have been affected by the syndrome.
The same judge has just ordered a council to pay the children’s father ￡15,000 after he was accused of sexual abuse and prevented from seeing his children for two years.
The man had made a complaint that social services bosses at the council had breached his human rights. Council bosses have apologised and agreed to pay damages, the judge has been told.
Details of the case emerged in a ruling by Mr Justice Cobb following a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London. The judge said neither the children nor their father could be identified.
And in another glimmer of hope CWF highlighted the fact that the head of the Britain’s family courts agency has finally agreed divorced and estranged parents who deliberately turn their children against ex-partners are guilty of abuse.
Anthony Douglas, chief executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, has publicly come out against “parental alienation” admitting that manipulation of children by a parent has become so endemic in family break-ups that it should be dealt with like any other form of neglect or abuse.
Andrew said: “Finally, our group and the many other groups battling against parental alienation, can take some comfort in what has been said – but it doesn’t mean the battle is over. Now we need to get the law to see it as a crime.”