William Collins: Throwing Children to the Wolves

An outstanding account of the removal of references to the term “Parental Alienation” and related commentary from the Guidance to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. An extract:

The Government’s response to the consultation submissions in respect of parental alienation is contained in paras 3 to 8. They note that they were presented with two diametrically opposed schools of thought. One was aligned with the above extracts from the 2021 draft Guidance, in blue. The other was the feminist position on PA – that claims of PA are an abuser’s strategy to discredit claims of their abusive behaviours. Para 6 makes the decision, thus,

The consultation responses highlighted a lack of shared understanding of ‘parental alienation’ – its definition and implications, and how to approach it in practice. Therefore, explicit references to ‘parental alienation’ and ‘alienating behaviours’ have not been made in the finalised draft.”

I invite you to critically examine that reasoning. How does the “lack of shared understanding” lead to a decision to exclude PA as a form of abuse? Could one not equally argue that, to err on the side of caution, PA should be included as a form of abuse? After all, the behaviours described above, in blue, are indisputably undesirable. It is not only the contentious term “parental alienation” but the words that describe these behaviours which have been removed.

The reality is clear enough. There was always a determination to remove PA from the Guidance and the Consultation was a vehicle for giving it apparent legitimacy.

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