Cafcass has recently published a statement regarding their position on parental alienation, following social media discussions about Dr. Adrienne Barnett’s views on the subject. Dr. Barnett is a member of the Cafcass Research Advisory Committee.
Alison Smith is a friend of Reducing the Risk, who takes a special interest in Parental Alienation. We asked for her response to the Cafcass article and she does not pull her punches. Alison will soon be joining us for a webinar – keep your eyes peeled for more information!
Alison has also written a book, SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN EXPOSED TO NARCISSISTIC PARENTING COERCIVE CONTROL AND PARENTAL ALIENATION: Practitioner’s Guide to Understanding & Working with the Complexities of Domestic Abuse, which you can read more about and purchase here.
These children are being psychologically manipulated to believe that the protective parent does not care about them and the same gaslighting techniques used on adult victims of domestic abuse are being used on the children. PARENTAL ALIENATION is a form of Coercive Control as the children become isolated, fearful and dependent on the abusive parent and are therefore child victims. For those of you working in front line services who are trying to get the child’s voice you may find it extremely difficult as you will need an in depth understanding of personality disorders, unresolved trauma and post traumatic stress. You will also need to use your professional curiosity and look beyond the presenting symptoms and probe deeper and be prepared to think the unthinkable as parental alienation is multifaceted.
Mistakes are being made in Family Courts and Children’s Services due to a lack of cutting edge training to support CAFCASS Workers, Judges and Social Workers who are engaging with the parents and children following a separation. In my role as a Domestic Violence Consultant, I support both mothers and fathers exposed to alienating behaviours who are not believed by their workers and children’s voices are not being heard. Commissioners must invest in the front line workers that are being blamed for getting it wrong by making better use of funding and provide resources that address this gap in knowledge and skills.
– Alison Smith