• December 7, 2023
 Charity slams UN’s ”demonising” approach to parental alienation

Charity slams UN’s ”demonising” approach to parental alienation

One of the UK’s leading shared parenting charities has criticised the United Nations’ (UN) approach to parental alienation, suggesting that “denying and demonising parental alienation is not the solution”.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, is to investigate how family courts around the world approach the concept of “parental alienation” and the potential for those that suffer domestic abuse to be doubly victimised.

Alsalem will look at the causes for the increase in allegations of parental alienation and the rising number of bitter court battles surrounding the concept. The UN commissioner for human rights Volker Türk gave context to the UN’s review:

“The tendency to dismiss the history of domestic violence and abuse in custody cases extends to cases where mothers or children have brought forward credible allegations of child physical or sexual abuse.

In several countries, family courts tend to judge such allegations as deliberate efforts by the mothers to manipulate their child and pull them away from their father.

This supposed effort by a parent alleging abuse is often termed ‘parental alienation’. The term generally refers to the presumption that a child’s fear or rejection of one parent, typically the noncustodial parent, stems from the malevolent influence of the preferred, typically custodial parent.”

Yet, Shared Parenting Scotland has expressed concern that the background briefing to the UN’s call for evidence is “based on generalised assertions that are not well-founded”, with the charity’s National Manager Ian Maxwell suggesting the briefing presents an “incomplete, inaccurate, and prejudicial picture” of the issues. He continued:

“Our experience in Scotland over the last 12 years of our casework is supported by a number of recent Scottish and English court decisions in which it was found the unjustified rejection of one parent due to the intentional or unwitting influence of the other parent does happen in some families after separation. The features that fall within the description of ‘parental alienation’ are present in such cases.”

Many of these apprehensions surrounding the concept have, however, been reflected in England, with President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane issuing a memorandum in October last year, Experts in the Family Courts, which said “pseudo-science which is not based on any established body of knowledge will be inadmissible in the family court”.

McFarlane is also set to lead a review of the regulation and legitimacy of court-appointed experts in particular where they are connected to allegations of parental alienation.

Jamie Lennox, Editor, Today's Family Lawyer

Editor of Today's Conveyancer, Today's Wills and Probate, and Today's Family Lawyer



  • You must be a charity that is part of the alienation industry because the study is sound. The touting of “parental alienation’ is for abusers and people profiting off of covering abuse and or trafficking children to abusers. The fact that your organization is challenging legitimate data and trying to call it into question is a red flag for your organization.

    • The “alienation industry” is funded by those high-conflict parents who alienate their own children from the other parent. If you notice, the parents who are truly experiencing the effects of alienation are typically not capable of funding any industry; as they have been living in abusive situations, and are usually trying to get their feet on the ground.

      Sure, there are those 2% who falsely accuse their partners of alienating, in effort to move the attention away their own abusive behaviors. Yep. Just as there are the few crazies out there falsely accusing ppl of robberies and rape. Crying wolf HAPPENS (frequently due to a disorder being present). But don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Nobody’s calling out domestic violence as being horse ****; tho we know there are fabricated/embellished reports filed every day. You know why we don’t ignore the outcries (anymore)? BECAUSE WE REALIZE THAT SAVING THE SUFFERING VICTIMS IS WORTH THE EFFORT.

      Frankly, I find it fascinating — in the most unsettling way — that this group of people are so fixed on hushing and hating rather than doing the tiny bit of research necessary to uncover the REAL LIVES that this kind of abuse has ruined. CHILDRENS’ lives. Innocent mothers and fathers lives. Grandparents, brothers, sisters… the ripple effect is profound.

      Those haters who work to prove it junk science are fueled by their judgment of ONE man. They’re using the term “parental alienation SYNDROME” as if it were synonymous with PA. The two are NOT THE SAME. Now, I’m not here to argue the morality of Dr. Gardner. He (and his antiquated research) is not relevant; using his story to demonize this VERY REAL PROBLEM is just smoke in mirrors, IMO.

      Research about PA began way before Gardner ever came out with his in the 80’s (Minuchin,1974, to name one). It’s a malignant form of triangulation. Moral? Again, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

      Further, to brand a term as being all bad is the definition of “splitting”. It’s biased. Not accurate. It’s misleading. Black/white thinking is what separates us as a society. This is the kind of thinking that the disordered personality uses (NPD BPD).

      Parental alienation: when one parent uses strategies to eradicate the child’s relationship with the other parent.

      There are very specific strategies employed. Alienation tactics can be both intentional and not. However, the parents who learn that their behavior is hurting their child, yet continue, obviously pose the greatest threat. These parents will often stop at nothing to remove the “target parent” from the child’s daily life. The child is taught that the other parent (of whom they are made from) is unsafe or unfit to be around. They are told that the other parent doesn’t love them enough, and/or that they are too selfish, too addicted, too ______ (fill in the blank) to be worthy of spending time with the child. Frequently, the alienating parent will accuse the target parent of illegal activity of some kind, ending the parent in jail; this providing the pathological parent with time to file an emergency protective order (all the while building the paper trail and case against the target parent). As one can imagine, the long-term effects on the child are MANY.

      You see, it’s not the target parent who is causing the ruckus — or, as you say, building the “industry”. The typical target parent does not want confrontation.

      I would like to believe that the majority of you aren’t aware of what you are standing against. And.. if you are, then you clearly would benefit from taking a long hard look at why you would support such abuse. Unless, of course, you are the abuser.

      • Beautifully stated!?????

      • Beyond The High Road, Shelby – Beautifully put. I’m not sure why so many so-called feminist groups are happy to sacrifice the women and children that are victims of parental alienation and spout such biased and unfounded hate. The fact that ‘anonymous’ is so willing to drag out tropes about traffickers and abusers shows the level of bias that this flimsy UN report has needed to lean into.
        All that groups like SPS want is to have a sensible, balanced and scientifically sound debate about it. Given the higher percentage of victims of parental alienation are men, it is easy to see the agenda but, as you say, they’re fine throwing the baby out with the bath water, showing a severe lack of humanity.

    • Agreed….???

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