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Entries in Parental Alienation (24)


2019 Parental Alienation Survey

Imagine if you were prevented from seeing your own children.

Not because you’d done anything to justify it.

Not because you didn’t love and care for them deeply.

Not because you weren’t around for them.

Imagine that you had separated/divorced and your former partner wanted to eradicate you from your children’s lives.  Wanted to punish you for being an ‘inadequate wife/ father’.

A former partner who speaks badly about you to your children. Who makes them think you don’t really care about them. Who makes them ’reject’ you.  Someone who twists your words and distorts the narrative to make your precious children lose their close attachment to you.

If you think it isn’t possible...know this.

There are thousands of parents in Scotland (both mums and dads) living this torture right now. Today. Every hour.  Many understandably can’t take it anymore and give up.  Some take their own lives.

Many more have spent thousands fighting through courts to regain some access, only to have their contact orders breached again. And again. And again.

Fighting only to have an opportunity to co-parent. Just to love and see their own children and play a part in their lives.  Everything most of us take for granted.

If you know anyone in this dark place right now, please ask them to complete the strictly confidential survey below.  These results are being shared with MSPs as they consider changes in family law and court processes.  (Note that some of the options in question 8 do not apply in Scotland - use the Other option to describe the stage you are at.)

Every story heart-breaking. Every story demanding a speedy resolution.

Please help



Comment by FNF Scotland on press coverage of Cafcass in England and Wales overhauling its approach to 'parental alienation'

There has been coverage in several newspapers today (including the The Guardian and Sun) that Cafcass (Children and Family Court and Advisory Service) in England and Wales is overhauling its approach to parental alienation - when children are put under pressure by one parent after separation to reject the other parent with whom they had a close and loving relationship. Cafcass is now acknowledging that parental alienation is a factor in a significant proportion of its cases. Cafcass is revising its training for its case workers in how to recognise and deal with parental alienation and what to recommend to the judge in the reports it makes to court. In extreme cases Cafcass officers may recommend that children may be removed from the care of an alienating parent.


FNF Scotland National Manager, Ian Maxwell, says, "FNF Scotland hears examples of parental alienation and the holding and withholding of child contact as a method of controlling the non-resident parent at all its monthly group meetings across Scotland. Nevertheless there is still widespread denial here that parental alienation exists among many involved in the family court process, including lawyers, social workers and some sheriffs.

The headlines in this morning's coverage lead on the nuclear option of taking children away from an alienating parent. We are explicit in our approach that 'Both Parents Matter' as set out in all our literature. We welcome Cafcass's public acknowledgement that parental alienation is seriously damaging for the children involved, blighting not only their wellbeing in childhood but also affecting their self esteem and ability to form relationships into adulthood. However, we would rather the penny drops for separated parents that they should put the interests of their children ahead of demolishing their relationship with the alienated parent so the extreme option doesn't have to be triggered.

We don't have Cafcass in Scotland. The role it has in making independent reports about the best interests of the child is performed by Child Welfare Reporters in Scotland. We have raised as a matter of concern that when the role of Child Welfare Reporters was redefined in October 2015 it was explicit that they should be required to have training in parental alienation. This training has never taken place - caught in a disagreement between the Lord President and Scottish Government. It is not acceptable that nothing should continue to happen on this important matter."


Scottish Parliament marks Parental Alienation Awareness Day

A motion tabled by John Mason MSP has already been signed by 18 other MSPs as noted below. 

The day has also been marked by a press release issued across Europe by the Platform for European Fathers, and a Good Parenting ‘quiz’ issued by FNF to help raise the awareness of this terrible problem and the types of unacceptable behaviour that lead to children being alienated against formerly much loved parents.  

"International Parental Alienation Awareness Day  

That the Parliament notes that 25 April marks International Parental Alienation Awareness Day; notes that, in over 30 countries, the day aims to highlight the damaging impact that such alienation, when one parent influences a child to reject the other parent following separation, can have on families; believes that, as this can sometimes happen unintentionally, highlighting the signs of alienation are key; understands that the side effects of such alienation can include an increased risk to the mental health of the children and family members who lose access; considers that, where possible, allowing both parents to be involved in the life of a child following separation leads to the best outcome, and hopes that the awareness day will help increase awareness of the benefits that healthy relationships between separated parents can bring."

Supported by: James Dornan, Gillian Martin, Ivan McKee, David Torrance, Sandra White, Ash Denham, Colin Beattie, Bill Kidd, Jeremy Balfour, Fulton MacGregor, Ben Macpherson, Clare Haughey, Jenny Gilruth, Kate Forbes, Maree Todd, Gil Paterson, David Stewart, Tom Arthur


Launch of Parental Alienation funding appeal

Families Need Fathers Scotland is launching a funding appeal to mark International Parental Alienation Awareness day on 25th April 2017.

Parental alienation, where a child rejects a previously loved father or mother due to undue influence from or loyalty to the other parent, is being increasingly recognised in Scotland.  Some sheriffs are making orders for family therapy to help rebuild the relationship between children and their alienated parent. Child welfare reporters should soon be receiving specific training on parental alienation as part of their preparation for carrying out reports for family courts.

But this awareness is only just beginning to spread. Family solicitors and advocates often acknowledge that there is deliberate or unconscious alienation in some of their cases but can’t see a way forward.

There are very few family therapists and child psychiatrists in Scotland with knowledge and understanding of parental alienation. Even when sheriffs would like to order some sort of intervention to undo the damage that alienation is doing to a child they encounter the shortage of professionals able to work with the family members involved.

Families Need Fathers Scotland has been helping fathers and mothers who are affected by parental alienation. We provide information and support and have organised training sessions conducted by leading specialists in this area such as Karen Woodall, Dr Kirk Weir and Dr Sue Whitcombe.  We have also supported individual parents with their court case, such as the father in AH v CH, and we have followed instances where alienated children have been successfully reintroduced to their parent.

This funding appeal is being made so that we can establish a separate fund to support family intervention where significant progress has been made but funding has run out before the work is complete.  Many of the cases we know about have taken far too long to proceed through the legal system before a suitable professional is identified and work can begin. The longer the gap in contact between parent and alienated child the harder it becomes for a therapist to intervene. Getting a court decision in your favour is no use if the case has taken so long that restoring a relationship with the child is almost impossible.

We are also very keen to be able to keep a record of alienation cases in the Scottish courts that will help build knowledge and awareness of successful interventions but also learn from the unsuccessful ones, including those in which a potentially successful intervention stopped short through lack of funding.

Why are we launching this appeal. The rules around publicity that might identify an individual child make it very hard for any affected individual to embark on crowdfunding on their own behalf.  

Families Need Fathers is a recognised Scottish charity with a solid reputation.  We are asking you to trust us to use the money raised in an appropriate way.  We will seek guidance from various experts in deciding which cases are worthy of support, and we will use a proportion of the funds to support our training events and other work to publicise the ways in which parental alienation can be treated and overcome.

By supporting the Make it a FAIR Fight appeal you will help ensure that Scottish children aren’t needlessly excluded from the love and affection of one of their parents, and that intervention in cases of parental alienation will become widely available.

You will help us to confront the shoulder-shrugging lawyers who say "There’s nothing can be done. Ask the court to allow you to send Christmas and Birthday cards" or the therapists who say  "respect the voice of the child" without investigating what lies behind a child rejecting a parent they previously loved and who hasn't ever harmed them.


International Parental Alienation Awareness Day

Parent support organisations from 30 countries worldwide from Australia to Zanzibar are marking Tuesday April 25th and International Parental Awareness Day.

"Parental Alienation" describes the situation in which one parent influences a child to reject the other parent after separation. Sometimes the alienation is deliberate and intentional. It can also develop unintentionally where the alienating parent creates unbearable emotional pressure forcing the child to take sides. Either form can result in significantly increased risks of both mental and physical illness for children in both the short and long term when they realise half of their prospective emotional support is missing.

Families Need Fathers Scotland and the other national organisations are using Parental Alienation Awareness Day to highlight the issue to politicians, judges, lawyers and the various professionals who work with children and families.

This issue affects large numbers of fathers and mothers worldwide as well as grandparents and other extended family members who find themselves cut out of the life of a child who previously loved them and enjoyed their company but now, without explanation or reason says s/he no longer wants any relationship at all.

Understanding of Parental Alienation is growing slowly in Scotland. There has been recent acknowledgement of the prevalence of parental alienation in England and Wales by Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, and by CAFCASS (The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) the public body in England and Wales set up to promote the welfare of children and families involved in family court.

Ian Maxwell, National Manager of FNF Scotland, says, "As awareness grows of parental alienation and the damage that it does to all the parties concerned - even the alienating parent - we hope that ways of working with affected families to counteract and undo alienation can be developed and improved in Scotland. The family courts also need to develop an understanding of how best to handle such cases.

Families Need Fathers Scotland is marking Parental Alienation Awareness Day to launch a funding campaign to raise funds to support innovative work to counter alienation. We also are seeking to raise the topic in the Scottish Parliament on the Awareness Day."

The organisations supporting the Day are:

  • Alabama Family Rights Association (USA)
  • ANASAP (Costa Rica)
  • Asociacija prieš tėvų Atstūmimą (Lithuania)
  • Asociación Custodia Compartida Alicante (Spain)
  • Asociacion Padres por la Justicia (Guatemala)
  • Associação Brasileira Criança Feliz (Brazil)
  • Associação Portuguesa para a Igualdade Parental e Direitos dos Filhos (Portugal)
  • Association "J'aime mes 2 Parents" (France)
  • Association of Equal Parenting (Iceland)
  • Associazione Genitori Separati e Figli Onlus (Italy)
  • Australian Brotherhood of Fathers (Australia)
  • Centro Antiviolenza Bigenitoriale Onlus (Italy)
  • Colibri Italy (Italy)
  • Families Need Fathers Scotland (UK)
  • Fathers without Rights (Austria)
  • Figlipersempre Nazionale (Italy)
  • Foreningen Far (Denmark)
  • Isät lasten asialla ry (Finland)
  • Kids Need Both, Inc (USA)
  • Männerpartei (Austria)
  • Mesa de Trabajo Nacional por los Derechos del Niño al Vinculo Familiar (Argentina)
  • Movimento Femminile Pari Genitorialità (Italy)
  • New Zealand Brotherhood of Fathers (New Zealand)
  • Padres por Siempre Paraguay (Paraguay)
  • Pais em Camisa de Força (Brazil)
  • Papa gibt Gas  (Austria)
  • Papà Separati Lombardia (Italy)
  • People for Co-parenting (South Africa)
  • Romanian Association for Joint Custody (Romania)
  • S.O.S. PAPA (Belgium)
  • Save the Children (Iceland)
  • SOS Parents (Luxembourg)
  • SYGAPA (ΣΥΓΑΠΑ) (Greece)
  • U.D.i.RE – Uomini e Donne in Rete (Italy)
  • United States Brotherhood of Fathers (USA)
  • Vader Kennis Centrum (Netherlands)
  • Zanzibar Social Workers Association (Zanzibar)