A new approach to the problem of parental alienation by one parent against the other is be trialled by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) in an attempt of prevent the potential for long term emotional damage to the children who are subject to such actions. It is increasingly observed that the practice of alienation, often by the custodial parent against the other parent, is both damaging to the child and unnecessarily costly and time consuming to the non-custodial parent when attempting to restore contact with their own child or children.

Cafcass indicated that as many as 6,000 children are affected and as over 50% of children of divorcing parents are under 11 years old many of them will be very young. Roughly 10% of Cafcass' entire work load involves parental alienation where one parent is attempting to influence a child against the other parent. Part of the new Initiative will involve sanctions against the alienating parent which ultimately could involve removing the child from their custody.

This is seen as a global problem, in Italy such behaviour can result in the offending parent being fined quite heavily, especially if there is evidence of persistent offenses, one woman was fined £27,000 for continually belittling her former husband and turning their three children against their father. In Mexico such behaviour is taken very seriously and can attract a prison sentence of up to 15 years. America has teams of parenting coordinators who are drafted in to assist in restoring the relationship between parents where one parent is denigrating the other parent in the hope of fracturing the relationship the children have with that parent. Most countries appear to recognise the phenomenon but also recognise that in such cases without specialise guidance it can be extremely difficult to change the situation and prevent the children being affected.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.