Monday, October 02, 2006

"Parental Alienation" now legal tool of choice for batterers

According to the Sept 25, 2006 issue of Newsweek, a concept called "parental alienation" is now "the leading defense for parents accused of abuse in custody cases, according to domestic violence advocates. Conceived in the 1980s, parental alienation proposes that children fear or reject one parent because they've been corrupted by the other.

While it's commonly known that batterers use children to further abuse their partners, this tool give more teeth to the threat. It works in part because various parts of the judicial system do not communicate with each other, or judges decide that evidence of spousal abuse is irrelevant to custody cases. Or because there is little documented evidence--because if there was a report of spousal abuse, oftimes the abused spouse is further abused by the justice system when Child Protective Services take children away for failure to protect them from an abuser even though the abused partner took steps by reporting abuse.

The Newsweek article suggests that this tide may be slowly turning, as a few states begin to limit the use of parental alienation in cases involving domestic violence, and as the abused and their attorneys connect with each other across the country and craft legislation intended to tease out abuse of the law from real cases of parental alienation.


  1. You'll probably want to read up on Parental Alienation a little bit better. In a widely publicised PBS documentary, your theory about abusers using Parental Alienation to hide their abuse is actually backwards. People who are performing parentectomy through Parental Alienation have to defend their actions by falsely claiming abuse. It has been statistically shown that domestic abuse is close to equally perpetrated by both men and women, yet Parental Alienation most typically follows the custodial parent, which, in the US, happens to typically be the mother. If Parental Alienation was the tool of domestic abusers, you would see it claimed equally by both men and women. It's not, and your argument worse than fails. It promotes false domestic abuse allegations which will only serve to injure those who are truly suffering from domestic abuse. Hong Kong

  2. Christopher, thank you for your comments.

    Statistics from the US Bureau of Justice in fact show that between 85 and 95 percent of abusers are male. The concept of "Parental Alienation," while it does have backers, is widely regarded by most psychologists, including the American Psychological Association, as invalid. And finally, the vast majority of custody disputes do NOT involve allegations of abuse; in the minority of cases that do, the rate of false report is between 2 and 8 percent.

    I can forward some better readings on Parental Alienation for anyone who requests.

    1. My ex husband was an abuser - he abused me and my children - and hid behind a parental alienation strategy to allow the abuse to continue. I was unable to speak about the abuse or point it out - it was like a gag order so that he could continue. After 7 years in court, the truth eventually came out and he lost access, but my children were irreparably harmed.

  3. Funny how if it isn't happening to you "it isn't really happening" when it comes to Parental Alienation.
    Thanks for including a key concept at the conclusion of you post:

    "real cases of parental alienation"

    There are thousands of "real" cases of alienation, and that needs to be focused on by the domestic violence advocates...because what form of abuse can be worse than manipulating and trying to destroy a child's life?

  4. I would have to say that i may not have the worst case of PAS it is however progressing. About 9 years ago my wife at the time and I got into a heated argument. She would not let me out of the house, so I picked her up and threw her onto the couch (domestic violence) I am guilty. She has used this through the court system to alienate me from my 6 year old son successfully. She has built upon this incident with multiple false accusations. I am in the military and transfered out of the state and I have not seen my son since. There weren't any problems with me seeing my son while in the state but as soon as I wanted to see him in Fl. the accusations came. I am happily remarried to a woman who came with two children and we have a very happy home. The X is single and unsuccessful she is trying to limit my visitation to Washington to further alienate the rest of my family. PAS does exsist and even though it may be associated with DV and other abuse some offenders do change or may only have problems with the one specific person the X! With everything I am experiencing with PAS I don't think anyone would be nice to the X if they where experiencing the same.