Make 'Parental Alienation' a Criminal Offence.
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Parental alienation needs to be a recognised form of child abuse and a form of recognised psychiatric harm punishable within the criminal justice system. Both children and parents have a Right to Private and Family life, so why should one party be enabled to interfere with those rights?
There is currently little regard towards the term ‘parental alienation’ due to the absence of a definition but has been characterised by CAFCASS to state that it includes behaviours such as:
constantly badmouthing or belittling the other [parent]; limiting contact; forbidding discussion about them; and creating the impression that the other parent dislikes or does not love the child. At the extreme end, it can become irrational contact denial – trying to force the child to reject the parent to make the ex-partner an ex-parent as well.
Children do not have the power to ascertain their rights through the court systems; their parents are ultimately their voice and their safe-haven. They believe their parents will do the best they can for them…
So, what happens when the residing parent turns the child against the other parent? Or accusations are made merely to prevent or restrict contact? Or the process of the court proceedings are purposely delayed? False accusations are made towards the non-residing parent to delay things further?
Affects to the child:
- Emotional abuse,
- Uncertainty, Confusion,
- Hostile environments,
- Lack of communication,
- Loss of concentration,
- The loss of other important relationship such as siblings, aunts, uncles, nans, grandads etc.
- ...and many other negative effects in every aspect of a child’s life.
Affects to the Non-residing parent:
- Loss of a relationship,
- Lack of support,
- Financial hardship after paying for mediation (and possibly refusal to mediate certificate dependant on residing parents co-operation)
- Court costs
- Cost for representation if needed.
- Costs of proving against false allegations (ie. Alcohol/Drug testing).
Affects to the ‘Parent with care’:
- None? - Their ultimate aims were achieved, contact was prolonged, children are emotionally scarred and the parent with care gets away with no repercussions.
Whilst I have closely witnessed many of the above factors during a Civil court case that was drawn out for over a year, domestic violence allegations in attempt to obtain legal aid, an alcohol misuse allegation delaying courts and costing close to £1,000 to prove otherwise and many, many other delaying tactics presented by the Mother to ensure that the Father was met with hurdles and barriers in reaching a Child Arrangements Order.
I was originally appalled at the lack of regard for fathers and upholding their Human Right regarding their private and family life but had to take a step back and examine the Civil Court system objectively. I soon realised that the system works simultaneously alongside the help of CAFCASS and any other official whose involvement was needed in order to protect the child(ren) and if the judges were to provide more leniency to the ‘non-residing parent’ when faced with accusations, they could ultimately be subjecting children to dangerous situations in other cases and they are merely doing all the investigations they had to whilst putting child arrangements orders on hold. This system is wholly useful in investigating and tackling issues in ensuring the child’s safety.
Unfortunately, the parent-with-care CAN and WILL utilise the fact false allegations mean investigations are needed and will sever any contact being established until innocence is proven. Falsified claims ultimately prolong the time to establish contact between the parent and the child, provides further costs for the accused parent to prove their innocence, provides additional stress and conflict in their private life, wastes time of Judges, provides longer waits for court dates, CAFCASS’ involvement is exploited but ultimately the biggest damage is directly to the children involved. There are currently no repercussions for preventing/limiting contact, causing the other parties distress, causing financial loss to see the child(ren) or for purposefully delaying proceedings; all of which is limiting contact between the child and their parent.
What can be done to prevent false allegation cases?
The best option is to prevent and deter any falsified claims as far as possible.
Deterring the parent-with-care from delaying any Court proceedings will ensure the court procedure is dealt with quickly and efficiently. Dettering lies and falsified claims makes the situation for children less hostile. Making the bad-mouthing of the other parent 'parental alienation' prevents the emotional abuse children are suffering from or any evidenced discouragment of the relationship a criminal offence deters and prevents prolonged court cases and could potentially see more efficient co-operation from the parent-with-care.
Contact should not be intentionally severed and evidence of such Act should be a Criminal Offence.
I ask and seek your help to get this matter heard by Parliament.
Children do not have the power to fight for their rights, help make sure 'parents with care' cannot restrict them!
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