I was saddened recently having a conversation with my grandson to discover that he never knew that my side of the family was so vast.
He had never been told that he had Great Aunts and Uncles who had 8 children between them. Many relatives who many have no sadly passed away. Lots of extended family who would have been part of his life if they had been allowed.
Alienators cause so much damage and destruction within families, it goes way beyond parents and grandparents and continues throughout the generations.
I speak to many alienated children through my therapy services and they all say the same. They grow up confused about what is real. They listen to conflicting stories from both parents and grandparents. Their minds are mixed up, some of the older ones are getting help and trying to work out truth from lies for themselves.
It makes them not trust anyone, they are anxious, they are unsure of themselves.
No child should have to go through this, the children are the innocent party.
WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO MESS WITH A CHILDS MIND?
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 9 (separation from parents) states that
Children must not be separated from their parents against their will unless it is in their best interests (for example, if a parent is hurting or neglecting a child).
Children whose parents have separated have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this could cause them harm.
I’ve written a fair amount on parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome (PAS) or parental alienation disorder (PAD). I’ve said before that I’m in no way qualified to give an opinion about whether the behavioral changes displayed by an alienated child fit the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of a discrete syndrome or disorder. Continue reading “Parental Alienation Causes Short And Long-Term Damage To Children”
Any professional reading the above cases should ask themselves whether they would have picked up on the warning signs? In addition to major warning signs, which when summarised can seem so clear, there may be cases in which this is in fact far more subtle. Such subtle indicators were seen in Re D itself. In father’s evidence he indicated that D had become privy to information that he believed D to be unaware of and was questioning how he came to find out such information. This information related to a historic drink driving offence that the father had been convicted of and which was used by D to undermine the father’s character in his evidence. This is an example of one parent drip feeding negative information about the other parent to manipulate the child’s view of them. Another subtle behaviour that has been identified is where one parent repeatedly demonises normal, excusable behaviour by the other parent. For example, where one parent takes their child to swimming lessons or sports competitions and makes remarks such as, “I hope your mother/father can be bothered to turn up”, or “I hope your mother/father doesn’t let you down again”, therefore resulting in the child becoming upset and feeling let down when the other parent has not been able to make it, usually for some good reason, such as a medical appointment or busy traffic or where they were never infact told they could attend. Hopefully however with training in place for CAFCASS and children law professionals and the wide reporting of cases such as Re A, D and L the early warning signs may be taken notice of. Earlier identification and response by professionals may have prevented the level of harm suffered by D in this case, and the relationship may have been left at least rectifiable.Continue reading “Identifying the signs of parental alienation”
Judges and magistrates in the Family Court in England and Wales have to make extremely difficult decisions about what is best for children if their parents cannot agree on the arrangements for the children on or after parental separation or divorce. The family courts have seen a steady increase in such applications since 2014, with 55,645 private law children applications made in 2020 (Government Justice Data, 2021). While courts make great efforts to reach decisions that are in children’s best interests, there may be cases where the process and decisions do not best serve children and parents in this discretionary area of law. However, if there are problems with the process or decisions made, the public cannot usually know about this. Section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 stipulates that the publication of information relating to proceedings brought under the Children Act 1989 is a contempt of court. This legislation, which is intended to protect children, means that nothing about a case can be reported without the court’s permission.
“She said she was the mother of two little girls that he had sexually abused and subsequently served time in prison for abusing,” Julia says. “I literally jumped.” She recalls feeling “very confused, scared and in shock”.
When she confronted him, Robert was “blasé” about it. “He said, ‘Oh yeah, she’s friends with my ex-wife. Don’t listen to her, she’s one of the people who launched a hate campaign against me’.”
Most legal professionals felt the lower courts, where most cases are heard, are particularly letting down victims of domestic abuse and their children. Four out of five lawyers said magistrates have a poor or very poor understanding of domestic abuse and coercive control. One in three said District Judges also have a poor or very poor understanding of these issues.
More than 2,000 parents felt the judge was actively hostile towards them. More than 70% of both mothers and fathers were unhappy with the outcome. Sixty-seven per cent agreed or strongly agreed that their children’s mental health had been affected by family court proceedings.
Cases take on average 18 months to complete, with one in 10 lasting more than five years. The average cost of proceedings is about £13,000, though one in 20 said they had spent more than £100,000.
“It is essential family court judges, magistrates, professionals and experts have full, trauma-informed training on domestic abuse, as recommended by the Ministry of Justice Harm Panel, and are alive to the tactical use of accusations of parental alienation,” said Dr Barnett.
Fronted by journalist Louise Tickle, who has fought for transparency in the family courts for longer than five years, ‘Torn Apart – Family Courts Uncovered’airs this evening (Tuesday 20th July) on Channel 4’s Dispatches at 10 pm. Dr Barnett’s full final report publishes later this year. Read her interim report here.
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