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Guest bloggers Lisa Fabian Lustigman and Jemma Thomas of Withers LLP consider potential ways forward to address parental alienation, and the views expressed by professionals at a recent joint Withers LLP and 1 KBW seminar.
Parental alienation is a difficult, complicated and emotive subject. It involves one parent trying to ensure that the child does not have a healthy relationship with the other parent, usually by thwarting contact between the child and the other parent, encouraging the child to be hostile towards, or fear, the other parent, and sometimes making false allegations of physical or sexual abuse against that parent.
Reading through the blogs, articles and tweets of those affected by this will leave you feeling sad and worried for all those involved – reading articles by adults who experienced this as children will give you an insight into the devastating impact parental alienation can have long term. What those involved want and need is hope for the future. Hope that there will be increased awareness and understanding, and an earlier recognition of what is going on, and a plan as to what to do. What is very clear in all these cases, is that avoiding delay is key. Experts are required to act quickly and purposively to protect the children involved.
In order to increase awareness and understanding, and so as to pool knowledge and ideas, Withers LLP together with leading family chambers 1 King's Bench Walk hosted a seminar on parental alienation on 24 May 2016. The room was filled with professionals (lawyers, experts, social workers and judges) and members of parents' organisations, all looking to the future and how to find a way forward to resolve this difficult problem.
At the seminar there was an emphasis on addressing the problems early, and dealing with any mental health issues of parents and children involved. Often, the parent who is resisting contact has issue
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