Parental Alienation Is Child Abuse; Child Advocates Say Laws Needed To Penalize Manipulative Divorced Parents

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 14, 04:00 am
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Manipulative divorced parents who keep their children from having a relationship with the ex-partner are liable for child abuse. Using tactics like brainwashing or deliberately distancing the children from the other parent, as in the case of parental alienation, bears great weight on the kids' emotional, mental and physical development. There should be a law to penalize these parents, according to child advocates.

Workers from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) have seen several cases of children suffering from the deeds and behaviors of their manipulative divorced parents. The group said that parental alienation happens in 80 percent of difficult divorces.

"It's undoubtedly a form of neglect or child abuse in terms of the impact it can have," Cafcass member Anthony Douglas said, according to Telegraph. "I think the way you treat your children after a relationship has broken up is just as powerful a public health issue as smoking or drinking."

What's making matters worse is that the laws have not specifically outlined parental alienation consequences or penalties even with current family policies. Divorced parents can come up with fabricated information about each other to brainwash their kids. Most of the time, these adults won't have to deal with the consequences.

Douglas noted family laws have provisions but these are rarely enforced in divorce courts. "Because ultimately the punishment on the parent will rebound on the child," he said.

ABC News reports parental alienation has widespread acceptance in custody battles. Some parents can even have their kids falsely testify against the alienated parent for custody, putting the judge at a difficult decision to verify the truth in the testimonies.

Family lawyer Joanna Abrahams said parental alienation has long existed but the behavior among divorced parents is escalating at an alarming rate, while other parents are seeing the potential fallout and dangers. "Some kind of legislation needs to be put in place but what that is I can't say," Abrahams told Telegraph.

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