If you find this site useful, please donate to support our work

Get our latest news by email:


Looking for something?


Entries in Scottish Parliament (9)


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


FNF Scotland comment on Scottish Government legislative programme

The Scottish Government has presented its list of proposed bills for the coming session of the Scottish Parliament.

Ian Maxwell of Families Need Fathers Scotland said today:

"We are still looking for more information on how the Scottish Government intends to take forward the SNP manifesto commitment to a review of family law. It will be encouraging if its absence from this session's legislative programme is an indicator that it is taking a thoughtful approach to the issues rather than rushing into legislation that will be in place for a generation. Family law and the recognition of the value of both parents to their children is, as the Council of Europe asserted last year,  fundamentally an equalities issue.

We are also aware from the cases that come to us from non-resident parents - mothers as well as fathers - and grandparents that too often turning off and on contact with children has become a form of coercive control by the parent with most care. The legislation in England and Wales made it effectively impossible for a non-resident parent to invoke the protections of the coercive control domestic abuse law and we will make representations to the Scottish Government that our legislation should not contain that loophole.

But of course, our ambition for Scotland is to change the culture in family law that too often pays lip service to putting the interests of the children first while persisting with an adversarial system that does the opposite." 


Equal Opportunities Committee publishes report on fathers and parenting

Families Need Fathers Scotland welcomes the Equal Opportunities Committee report on Fathers and Parenting in Scotland. The report may in time be recognised as a notable milestone in challenging some of the institutional and attitudinal obstacles placed in the way of both fathers and mothers who want to share parenting of their children.

It is our experience that the obstacles the Committee has identified become steeper for fathers when the marriage or relationship breaks down. The acknowledged advantages for the children of the full involvement of both parents while the parents are together somehow gets sidelined on separation.

There is a raft of research that demonstrates children do better in all aspects of their life and emotional involvement when both parents are involved even after separation.

It is estimated that in the region of 30% of children in Scottish schools have parents who live separately.

It is evident that parents themselves are some way ahead of many professionals and politicians in establishing genuine shared parenting after separation. Perhaps that is as it should be. Unfortunately it is also our experience that even the phrase “shared parenting” still induces passive resistance or active hostility among some professionals and some family court sheriffs. While parents should lead, professionals should not be so far behind.

The Committee noted a “data deficit” in the extent of shared parenting. FNF Scotland will write to the Committee to offer our assistance in finding ways of gathering statistics and case studies that will present a fuller picture for future policy development.


Call to recognise the contribution of fathers after separation

FNF Scotland has submitted its contribution to the Scottish Parliament Equalities Committee enquiry into Fathers and Parenting.

We are calling for equal recognition of the contribution that fathers can make in parenting their children after separation.

Examples are included, drawn from the experience shared at our groups or through direct contact with the office in Edinburgh of institutional and professional obstructions placed in the way of non resident fathers in schools, health services, policing, family court proceedings and child maintenance.

We wrote: "We believe Scotland has drifted into a situation where the contribution of fathers, including non-resident fathers, is undervalued. Individual fathers are subjected to suspicion and resistance that is undermining and disempowering to them and disadvantages their children. In attitudes and practice non-resident fathers in particular are subjected to questions about their motivation and worth as parents that are discriminatory."  

The submission makes five recommendations:

1) Legislative change, including a review of the Children (Scotland) Act;

2) Political Leadership that can speak up unequivocally for fathers; 

3) More inclusion, especially in the practice of health providers and social workers in keeping fathers involved in the information they hold/withhold about their children;

4) Better school engagement with fathers, including non resident fathers, in terms of their obligations set out in the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act;

5) Action on abuses of the joint Police/Crown Office domestic abuse protocol that has lead to the 'doorstep ambush'. Wilfully breaching of agreed and court ordered contact arrangements should be a recordable incident of domestic abuse.


Equal Opportunities Committee considers single fathers

The Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee is keen to hear about the experiences of single fathers and fathers with shared residence of children. They wish to identify the key challenges they face in day-to-day life and the quality of support currently available to them. 

Amongst the members of the Committee are John Mason MSP who supported the member's debate on Families Need Fathers Scotland last year, and Christian Allard MSP (pictured) who raised his children after becoming a widower.

The committee have expressed particular interest in the provision of services and support groups, societal attitudes towards lone / unmarried fathers, and issues around parental responsibilities and rights for fathers.

Submissions should be made in writing, by Friday, 21 February 2014 to equal.opportunities@scottish.parliament.uk or by post c/o the Clerk, Equal Opportunities Committee, TG.01, The Scottish Parliament, EDINBURGH, EH99 1SP.  When preparing a submission, remember that details of an ongoing court case or other personal information should not be included - if in doubt about this or how best to get your pint aross FNF Scotland are happy to advise.

Families Need Fathers Scotland will be submitting evidence, and we would be very interested to hear your views and receive copies of your submissions.