Article 24(3) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights states that:
“Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his/her parents, unless contrary to his/her interests”.
So how are those fine words working out in practice?
Around 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce.
It is currently conservatively estimated, by CAFCASS, that there are 1 million children alienated from 1 biological parent.
That most likely means that they are alienated from one entire side of their biological family.
Taking a very conservative estimate of 6 close family members per biological family branch, that’s 7 million people.
So at least 10% of the UK population, according to a very conservative estimate, has been deliberately alienated from children whose parents are no longer together.
The implications are huge including:
- inadequate parenting (more support than challenge)
- rejection of authority owing to inappropriate childhood empowerment
- inability to manage conflict or disagreement
- psychological problems linked to self-esteem and guilt
- inappropriate parental attachment
- problems with forming and maintaining healthy relations
- excessive exposure to a parent most likely to have some form of personality disorder
- financial problems
- chronic levels of childhood unhappiness
- legal conflict that may well last generations
The only legal recourse for alienated parents and their families, at present, involves use of secret family courts and social services.
However, the process:
- is loaded towards the resident parent
- encourages one parent to lay siege to the house and children as a means of securing most of the family assets
- places children on the front line of any disagreements
- is adversarial and promotes a “winner takes all” outcome that encourages alienation
- encourages allegations of “abuse” and conflict in order for resident parents/de-facto primary carers to access legal aid
- is prohibitively expensive
- is becoming increasingly impotent as resident parents/alienators are simply ignoring the authority of the family court judges by refusing to adhere to court orders
According to the latest statistics:
- 96% all child arrangements order applications are made by dads (Uni of Warwick)
- 97% residencies given to mums (Uni East Anglia)
- 50% of orders are broken (UEA)
But by far and away, the biggest issue is that just 1.2% of applications for enforcement of court orders are successful (Ministry of Justice).
In 2017, we have witnessed a record number of litigants in person (non-resident parents, 97% of whom are Dads). Yet the process is fruitless as orders are simply not enforced.
Even worse, if desperate non-resident parents resort to litigation, resident parents largely claim abuse or domestic violence to access legal aid without the need for proof, impose contact patterns that give them the bulk of the time with the children, they then use this time to break the child’s relationship with the NRP using a host of counter-parenting tactics shared on social media networks etc
They then claim that any litigation by the NRP is actually continuation of the alleged abuse and that the litigants are implacably hostile towards them and are causing the children harm by pushing.
Once they have the “sympathy” of social services, they use this as the excuse to break orders which in turn buys even more time for the abusive alienating behaviour.
After a relatively short time they are able to coach the children to present to social workers either ill equipped to recognise PAS or ideologically pre-disposed to ignore it, as if the reluctance to see the NRP is actually the child’s idea (their wishes and feelings). when actually it is a survival mechanism to avoid the wrath of the hostile resident parent.
Somehow lawyers and social workers then present the litigation itself as “conflict” and that this damages the children. But it clearly is not a conflict as it is 1 sided. In reality, it’s one party with all the power (the Resident Parent) using this power to bully, intimidate and abuse the other party (NRP) who has no power but is desperately just trying to cling onto a relationship with their own children. They are using the only means open to them, ironically recommended by lawyers. the police and courts.
The stats clearly reveal that non-resident parents actually have very little protection at all and, by some cruel twist of logic will actually be blamed for the conflict for having the audacity to challenge the abuser and their alienating behaviour which the authorities somehow refuse to see.
On this basis, yes 2017 has been the year of the alienator.
On the advice of unscrupulous lawyers and powerful peer groups, they are employing this formula on a loop to bully and abuse the children, destroy the non-resident parent emotionally and financially and break their relationship with the children until their former partner is forced to give up for fear of the damage their children are suffering.
In short, the EU Article, which should work in the favour of the children, is actually twisted to destroy one of their parents and damage the children for life in the process, destroying half their heritage and identity and abandoning them to the mercy of a parent with, at best, questionable morals and parenting skills. And this is being enabled by the family courts, lawyers and social workers who are promoting a system that fails non resident parents and children 99% of the time, yet costs £millions to administer. By any measure, that has to be ethically questionable at least. It certainly isn’t supporting justice.
This PAS formula has been successful in destroying at least 7 million lives so far. That is more alienated children and adults than the entire population of Wales and Scotland together.
Let that sink in!
Now, what can we do about this as we enter a new year?
Well, we’ve already started.
The Peace not PAS community on social media is at least 8,000 strong and growing and the reach of our articles, blogs and posts touches all parts of the globe.
We have participated in the important Westminster Dialogues and have had a number of successes helping our network members win landmark battles to maintain contact with their children.
But that’s not enough.
We have attracted the attention of some of the leading names in the anti-PAS movement who want to collaborate.
But that’s not enough.
We are receiving approaches from the fragmented organisations and associations fighting the anti-PAS fight.
But that is not enough.
Our vision is that all children will grow up in a world where their rights and parenting are shared equally between both biological parents. In addition, children will have a fulfilling, positive, and equal relationship with both sides of their extended family, including within blended families.
After four months we have yet to achieve this for our own children and the struggle continues for our network members.
But like the great equality movements that went before like the suffrage or civil rights movements, for example, that set out to address fundamental breaches of the most basic of human rights, we will not rest until we have achieved shared parenting as a 50/50 legal presumption and eradicated the child abuse that is parent alienation.
Despite very difficult Christmases, our founders met recently to debate plans for 2018 and we will be sharing the outcomes with you for your much needed and valued input shortly.
These aspirations and plans include:
- Setting out a definitive and powerful alternative to the current PAS recognition and treatment pathway which is patchy, haphazard, laboured and counter-productive at best.
- Engaging with all the organisations involved in the industry that has grown up around child arrangements post divorce to both promote this alternative and to partner with them to positively influence and speed up the agenda for change.
- Designing, developing and delivering a visual tool that will be used to engage and educate key stakeholders about the lasting impact of parent alienation and how best to either avoid or combat it upstream rather than cope with its impact on children and adults alike.
- Expanding our support network building on the best practices identified to date.
So watch this pace.
Last, but not least, given the scale of this fast-spreading social disease that has brought so much unnecessary pain and suffering to alienated parents and their children, YOU need to be congratulated for the not insignificant miracle of having survived the relentless abuse.
We know how tough that has been at times!
2017 was not a great year.
But by pulling together and working together in partnership with the goal of peace not pas in mind, we will get through this together.
We will re-unite with our children while changing a system that, quite simply, is just not fit for purpose.
Stay strong and here’s hoping 2018 will be a much better year for alienated parents and our children alike.
Remember, no matter how tough things get, you are never alone.