The behaviours of parental alienation are both psychologically abusive and coercively controlling which renders them a form of post-separation domestic abuse.
There can be no question about this however the term ‘parental alienation’ has been corrupted and misrepresented by certain ideologically driven and financially vested organisations because it affects more fathers than mothers.
This is NOT a ‘gender issue’ – it affects thousands of loving fathers and mothers throughout the UK.
It is a power and control issue. The parent who retains residency is more able to alienate their children because they can leverage a child’s biggest fear – abandonment.
Ultimately, it is a child protection issue and anyone who denies this should be mandated to listen to these heart-rending testimonies from adults who were alienated as children. (Listen to their stories here).
The trauma they suffered was real and to disregard this and attempt to silence them says much about the individuals and organisations who do so.
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 was ratified in April 2021, however the Statutory Guidance which followed was open to public consultation. This initially included the term Parental Alienation and specified common alienating behaviours.
Following just over 1000 responses, it was subsequently removed from the Statutory Guidance in July 2022.
Our discussion about parental alienation with a representative from Women’s Aid (Listen here to the interview) revealed that while they accept alienating behaviours ARE abusive, the ‘term parental alienation is contentious’, and the behaviours of coercive control are covered already.
So, to make it easier for parents going to family court to retain a warm loving relationship with their own children, we have outlined the relevant points from the statutory guidance as follows:
From the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 Statutory Guidance – Pages 31 to 33
Controlling or coercive behaviour also forms part of the definition of domestic abuse at section 1(3)(c) of the 2021 Act. The following examples are within the range of behaviours that might be considered controlling or coercive behaviour. This list is not exhaustive:
- Isolating the victim from family, friends and professionals who may be trying to support them, intercepting messages or phone calls;
- Refusing to interpret and/or hindering access to communication;
- Using children to control the victim, e.g. threatening to take the children away;
- Threats to expose sensitive information (e.g. sexual activity or sexual orientation) or make false allegations to family members, religious or local community including via photos or the internet;
- Intimidation and threats of disclosure of health status or an impairment to family, friends, work colleagues and wider community – particularly where this may carry a stigma in the community;
- Physical violence, violent or threatening behaviour, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, economic abuse and verbal abuse (as further detailed in this chapter).
Controlling or coercive behaviour is a pattern of behaviour often perpetrated alongside other forms of abuse. A victim may not be aware of the abusive behaviours or be prepared to make a disclosure. In supporting victims to address controlling or coercive behaviour, agencies should give consideration to the cumulative impact of a perpetrator’s behaviours (including those that may seem harmless) and the pattern of behaviour within the context of the relationship.
Controlling or coercive behaviour should be dealt with as part of safeguarding and public protection procedures. Professionals should be aware of the impact of this behaviour on victims, including children and young people.