Parental alienation ‘dangerous as booze and fags’ says agency boss

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The boss of a controversial child protection service has said that Parental Alienation is just as powerful a public health issue as smoking or drinking.

Anthony Douglas, chief executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), had recently also said that divorced parents who “brainwash” their children against ex-partners are guilty of “abuse”.

He said the deliberate manipulation of a child by one parent against the other has become so common in family breakdowns that it should be dealt with like any other form of neglect or child abuse.

But he also had this to say: “It’s undoubtedly a form of neglect or child abuse in terms of the impact it can have,” said Mr Douglas. “I think the way you treat your children after a relationship has broken up is just as powerful a public health issue as smoking or drinking.”

Mr Douglas said: “There isn’t a specific criminal law that outlaws parental alienation in the UK. But we do have family law and through assessments and enforcement proceedings, we do have the ability to send parents to prison or give them community sentences.

“But this is hardly ever the case because ultimately the punishment on the parent will rebound on the child.”

According to Cafcass, parental alienation is responsible for around 80 per cent of the most difficult cases that come before the family courts.

Alienation can include a parent constantly badmouthing or belittling the other adult, limiting contact between the child and the targeted parent, forbidding discussion about them, creating the impression the parent does not love the child and forcing the child to reject the parent.

However, judges in the UK are starting to recognise parental alienation, which is leading to some children being removed from the offending parent.

“But this is fraught with difficulty,” said Mr Douglas. “It’s a rocky road and a difficult process.”

Joanna Abrahams, head of family law at Setfords Solicitors, is one of the country’s few specialists in parental alienation.

She said: “The amount of enquiries we are getting about this type of behaviour is growing all the time. At the moment we get about three calls a day about this – and that’s a lot.

“It’s always been there but people are now beginning to understand more about it and how harmful it can be. You can run into the tens of thousands on cases like these.

Ms Abrahams intends to put together a team of experts to see if a committee could be formulated to tackle parental alienation.

“It’s in the embryonic stages at the moment but it would include myself, Cafcass social workers and mental health workers – a cross-range of experts with the hope of developing something.

“I think we need to all work together to have a more joined-up approach to this behaviour which can be so damaging.”

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2 thoughts on “Parental alienation ‘dangerous as booze and fags’ says agency boss

  1. At last . Finally looks like some action is taking place. Millions of children and parents in particular fathers are losing their children through an alienating mother. A parent who puts their hatred and spite towards their ex before the best interests of their children and deliberately causing them huge emotional harm is not fit to be the resident parent. They damage needs to be stopped and parents need to be punished for their abusing actions and be made to realise that the are effectively a child abuser. It’s not only the lies and manipulation about the other parent and extended family but it’s also what they are teaching the child when forces them to lie. They are teaching them it’s ok and normal to lie about others and destroy lives as well as no consequences happen for their wrong and sometimes un lawful actions. It also puts the child at greater risk when they are adults and have children to do the exact same thing if a break up occurs. It’s that or if the child does manage to realise when they get older what the alienating parent has done to them and all the time they made them lose out on growing up hating the other parent or even just simply the pain of finding out that the parent they thought didn’t care about them or care about seeing them was actually not true and it was the alienating parents lies and manipulation. Thus extra emotional harm coming to terms with the parent they believed loved them so much infact didn’t and loved using them as weapons more in their bid for revenge and removing their ex the other parent out their lives

  2. PA is supported by schools, hospitals and social services who must take responsibility for the facilitation of ruined lives and suicides.

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