Parental alienation, whereby one parent ‘brainwashes’ their child against the other parent, is “a form of neglect or child abuse”, according to Anthony Douglas, the Chief Executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (‘Cafcass’), which represents children in family court cases.
Mr Douglas has stated that 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. He said: “It’s undoubtedly a form of neglect or child abuse in terms of the impact it can have. 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.”
He went on: “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.”
Judges are beginning to recognise parental alienation, which is leading to some children being removed from the offending parent. However, such a course of action “is fraught with difficulty”, according to Mr Douglas.
If you believe that you may be a victim of parental alienation then Family Law Café can make sure you find the help you need – to contact us click the Contact link above and fill in the form, or call us on 0208 768 2278.