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Training & Conferences

So-called 'Parental Alienation' - Debates and Controversies’

4 March 2024

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The Nagalro Spring 2024 conference will be held on Monday, 4 March 2024. 09.30 - 13.55 by Zoom

Following on from Nagalro’s excellent conference in October 2022 on domestic abuse (DA) and coercive and controlling behaviours (CCB), our Spring 2024 conference will examine the ‘parental alienation’ (PA) ‘model’ and myths, it's history within the UK Family Courts, and the current debates. We aim to examine the lens of interpretation through which allegations of PA reframe the issues before the Court, and demonstrate how easy it is to lose focus, so that the child becomes the object rather than the subject.  We also hope to create learning points about PA for attendees from other jurisdictions and professions.

It is imperative that social workers working in private law within the Family Courts keep the focus on the Section 1 Children Act 1989 - that the child’s welfare is always the paramount consideration throughout. Equally important is the assessment of significant harm that is required under S37 where any allegations of abuse of a child or domestic abuse are made.  A high number of Family Court cases where allegations of domestic abuse (DA) go on to have counter claims of PA.  We will address some of the facts and figures, and flag up where there is no reliable research base for claims of PA.

The landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021 brought changes which crucially recognised children as victims of domestic abuse in their own right for the very first time. From this base we will look at the evidence around DA, child abuse (CA) and PA and we will examine:

  • Key judgements, legislation and statutory guidance  – the legal framework
  • Is there any reliable evidence base for PA?
  • The crucial importance of early Fact Finding Hearings
  • The role of the expert in allegations of DA, CA and PA – Part 25 Experts and Assessors
  • The landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and guidance and Duties under Practice Directions [12J (child arrangements and domestic violence), 3AA (special measures) and 25 (experts)],
  • If a child is resistant to spending time with, or hostile towards, one parent post separation – has it been established there is no legitimate reason or cause for this, before accepting it as unjustifiable?
  • What are ‘alienating behaviours’, and how to assess the significance of the impact of these behaviours on the child?
  • Whar further training is needed on DA, CCB and PA?

 

Conference Chair: Professor Jo Delahunty KC (4Paper Buildings)

Click here for application form and further details

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