Child Rearing

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 1 May 2024.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help tackle parental alienation.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Government does not recognise the concept of “parental alienation” and does not accept that it is a syndrome capable of diagnosis.

In his judgment in the case of Re C the President of the Family Division detailed that the courts focus should be on the “identification of ‘alienating behaviour’” rather than seeking “to determine whether the label ‘parental alienation’ can be applied”. In providing advice to the court, Cafcass does not recognise “parental alienation” and instead looks at the individual behaviours of a parent. In cases where a child is resistant, or refuses, to see a parent Cafcass Family Court Advisers must first consider whether domestic abuse or other forms of harmful parenting are a contributing factor.

The Government is aware of concerns of about unregulated “parental alienation” experts being instructed in the family courts. To address this issue, we are working with the Family Procedure Rule Committee to make changes to the Family Procedure Rules and their associated Practice Directions to prevent the instruction of these unregulated experts.

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