Regarding the raising of awareness of parental alienation I believe change is on the horizon. I am not naive enough to believe it will happen overnight. However, very much like the general public’s past lack of understanding of mental health, parental alienation is now starting on that same journey.
Last week parental alienation was reported on the BBC national news here in the UK.
Understandably this was shared across social media by the thousands upon thousands of alienated parents out there. It felt to me that the online anti-parental alienation community shared it with a somewhat cautionary sense of relief; that as much as we are sill denied reform, finally something so unjust as parental alienation is now being discussed on prime time national news here in the UK.
On the same day as the above reporting, the BBC also published the following related article on their BBC News website written by their Education Editor Branwen Jeffreys; When a Child Won’t See One Parent.
In her article Jeffreys explores the nature of parental alienation, all be it briefly, but at least, once again this form of abuse is on it’s way to reaching the attention of a much wider audience.
The article finishes with comments from Professor Liz Trinder, from the University of Exeter. Trinder makes the statement “the idea of parental alienation as a pattern of behaviours needs to be treated carefully, because the courts have a duty to consider the child’s best interests.”
Trinder then goes on to state “the problem with the alienation concept is that if your premise is the child has been brainwashed, it means you can’t trust what the child is saying to the court. So if you make an accusation of alienation it almost automatically casts suspicion on anything the child might say.” Even though Trinder appears to be coming from a cautionary perspective, she has clearly and unintentionally hit the nail on its head when she states “it almost automatically casts suspicion on anything the child might say.”
Anyone that knows anything about parental alienation knows that children are simply paraphrasing the alienating parent regarding their expression of negative views of the rejected parent. We all know alienated children have been coached and groomed into hating the other parent. Trinder conveniently chooses to omit that statistically children do not naturally reject a parent or care-giver. Even in cases of where the child is aware of the abuse, children remain attached to that parent. Children are hard-wired to remain attached to their parent(s).
In the above news report footage, Sarah Parsons (Principal Social Worker, Cafcass) makes the following statement “their [the affected children] only way of staying safe is to side with one parent and reject the other.” This view from Parsons, even by Cafcass’ standards is clearly the opposite view of Trinder’s regarding her call for services to be cautious with potential cases of parental alienation.
On 5th February 2018 Martin Daubney wrote an article entitled UK Dads are being airbrushed out of existence by family courts favouring and bankrolling Mums for the i Newspaper/website.
Daubney reminds us that free legal aid was stopped following the implementation in 2013, of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012. The only exception in terms of who would still be entitled to free legal aid was women who claimed domestic abuse, which leads to the application for Non-Molestation Orders.
Daubney then goes on to highlight the astonishing fact that in the year following the introduction of this Act, applications for LASPO boomed by 300%.
Daubney then reminds us that prior to the implementation of LASPO, the legal aid split was roughly 40% v 60% to men and women. Post-LASPO it is now 15% v 85% respectively. Daubney rightly argues that the change in these figures is clearly more than coincidental.
On 21st November 2016 parental alienation was also discussed on the Victoria Derbyshire news show on the BBC.
There is, in the following footage an all too familiar and disturbing interview with an anonymous child victim of parental alienation. The discussion in the studio that then subsequently takes place includes Anthony Douglass (CEO, Cafcass), Joanna Abrahams (Head of Family Law, Setford Solicitors) and Greg Mulholland (Liberal Democrat MP). Around the eight and a half minute mark Douglas is struggling to answer reasonable yet challenging questions from Mulholland.
It is incredibly important that those of us that have the time and resources to do so, to continue to chip away at this flawed system. It is incredibly important that we also continue to do all we can to actively raise awareness of parental alienation.
The above are just a few examples of the increase of discussion of parental alienation in the public domain. However despite the above examples, the current low level of public awareness of parental alienation remains unacceptable.
I do believe change will come. However like all past instances of social change, it is only ever pushed and forced on governments from the grass roots level of society; by the very people that are effected by the much needed social change. And this time, those people are us; the hundreds of thousands of alienated parents, grandparents and step parents.
We can do this, change will come. It is definitely time for the sun to set on this outdated and flawed system.