Some Parental Alienation Myths Dispelled
• Parental Alienation is not a psychiatric syndrome
Frankly, as HHJ Wildblood recently observed, ‘Who Cares?’1
This silly argument is a red herring that has wasted far too much time, money and effort for
many years and it’s still being wheeled out by those with a vested interest in travelling but
never arriving. In the trade, the syndrome proposition is known as a straw man argument.
That is, a proposition which is mischaracterised in order to make it easier to attack.
We can argue about how we characterise things that judges have made findings of fact upon
until the cows come home but this will not alter judicial findings of fact. It is a distraction
from the fact that vulnerable children are being emotionally abused and there is now a
burgeoning body of case law to prove beyond any measure of doubt that the phenomenon of
Parental Alienation is a reality.
The same argument applies to defining PA. What is the point in redefining something that the
case law already states?
These spurious arguments are of little relevance to the children and families affected by PA.
They are mere diversions which delay and impede the real business of educating
practitioners, building public awareness, protecting children from emotional abuse besides
reuniting children with well-adjusted parents and positive role models.
• Parental Alienation is no more than a theory that has been made up by
abusive fathers to blame innocent mothers and it does not exist
This is a popular slogan amongst various groups who dislike the notion of PA based upon
ideologies but ignoring evidence.
PA behaviours have been findings of fact and acknowledged in published judgments for at
least 34 years, since Latey J first coined the phrase ‘Implacable hostility’ to describe
In a frequently cited judgment from 2003 Wall J described Parental
Alienation as ‘…a well recognised phenomenon’.3
This case also confirmed that PA was
emotionally harmful because the case changed to a public law case and the child was
removed from the mother after the court had found the threshold of harm to been crossed
owing to the mothers unabated emotional abuse.
In 2010 HHJ Bellamy described Parental Alienation as ‘…a feature of some high conflict
parental disputes [that] may today be regarded as mainstream. 4
This means that it is thoroughly misleading to label it as a ‘concept’ or a ‘theory’ or some
other term intended to be pejorative and minimise its credence. Furthermore, it has been a
finding of fact and a mainstream phenomenon with increasing frequency now for over three