Waking up and Taking Action on Parental Alienation in the UK

Readers will be interested in this article which is written by  Francesca Wiley QC of 1 Garden Court Family Law Chambers for Family Law week, in which she discusses the issue of serious parental alienation. The following is an excerpt.

There has been resistance in the lower courts to even considering that the presence or dynamic of alienation may be real. Nevertheless other countries, including Canada and the USA, identify it and have been proactive in their approaches, now using “parenting coordinators” and “bridging programmes” ordered and supervised by the court by which skilled and informed professionals help to restore relationships with parents and children identified as alienated. In Mexico and Brazil alienating a child from a parent is a criminal act.

In the UK parental alienation was often seen as a phrase relating only to campaigners for fathers’ rights and as a consequence professionals and courts were slow to accept such an analysis could or might be right. The default position was to consider an assertion of parental alienation as a red herring raised by a (most likely, aggrieved) parent as part of a long standing problem or dynamic with their ex-partner and with limited insight into their own role in the family. In some cases this will, of course, be so.

Careful scrutiny of the facts is essential at an early stage as well as a garnering of as much objective evidence as possible about the circumstances in which a parent now has no contact.’

It seems to me that the issue of parental alienation is one which is now being taken seriously in London at least and those of us working daily with this problem welcome this article  on the issue wholeheartedly.



  1. The most refreshing and hopeful thing I have read in years (aside from the blogs here and work by Dr Childress).

    In the case I live with the child is 15 and a half, and has been without direct contact with the ‘rejected’ parent for 3 years (with a ‘no direct contact’ order that is now nearly 2 years old). Disrupted contact for the 3 years before that point.
    I weep when I read the GAL report that prompted and sought the ‘no contact order’. The GAL was 100% wrong in his reading of the situation and put all the weight on the ‘expressed wishes and feelings’. CAFCASS and the HCPC have stood behind that report 100% and won’t entertain the harm that has been done by professional incompetence.

    I pray that anyone who reads this, who is still at a point where change can be effected, uses every word in this article to the benefit of their children.


    1. I am in the middle of Court process but the Court does not believe in parent allienation and there is no support.


      1. Can you contact Francesca Wiley for support? She works as a direct access barrister. Expensive but effective.


    2. I agree with you Cathryn and was overjoyed when I read this excerpt from Francesca Wiley QC. Thank you for posting and sharing Karen. I haven’t seen one of my children for 15 years due to severe alienation and the GAL was trying to get rid of me and make me give up despite court orders for reunification. They were all flouted. The salient issue here is that ‘the wishes of the children’ should not be taken at face value and there should be a forensic investigation to substantiate why the children hate one parent so much.

      I am actually all for PA being a criminal offence, although this might sound extreme and will never happen in the UK. I also believe that it is a criminal act in Romania (not too sure). I also think that it is so good that this came from a Woman QC which is good evidence that this is not a gender issue.

      Let’s pray that this is the beginning of a new era – although I am sure it will take time to infuse into the rigid structure of the legal and MH system in the UK. For many of us alienated parents it is all too late but with this new awakening in the family courts there is hope that no parent or child need suffer like we all have. I think it is wonderful news and will lead to a new wave of thinking about PA in the UK.


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