New support for people affected by ‘parental alienation’

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Parental alienation is a process where one parent knowingly makes a child turn against the other parent. This has become a common feature in family law and is on the rise. These are one of the most difficult issues for Cafcass to deal with because finding a solution for the welfare of the child may be difficult. Sarah Parson, the assistant director of Cafcass said: “Parental alienation is responsible for around 80% of the most intransigent cases that come before the family courts”.

In America and Canada, “parenting coordinators” are appointed to help restore a mutual relationship between parents a child. This can be a move the law in England and Wales can consider. Parental alienation is regarded as the present cause and common problem especially during a divorce. Figures presently show that 11%-15% of divorces involving children involve parental alienation.

Joanna Abrahams, head of family law at Setfords Solicitors who is one of only a few lawyers in the UK who specialise in the area of parental alienation said: “Although awareness is increasing, I’m not convinced that judges or social workers have the training and exposure that enables them to identify parental alienation and act on it.” The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services, is to offer targeted support for those affected following a government funded intensive therapeutic pilot programme.

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