Global Health Agency Told Not To Add “Parental Alienation” Classification, By Lawyers and Experts

Original piece found Here by Natasha from Researching Reform.

30 Apr 2019

This concern comes after the BBC Women’s Hour report on ‘Parental Alienation’ and Selma James’ response to how “‘parental alienation’ which has notoriously been used by fathers, including violent fathers, discredit[s] the mother who is most often the caring parent, and to get power against her and over the children.”

SnS has issued a complaint but please do email them too: and send a copy to us.  

Over 172 family law academics, domestic violence experts and children’s rights organisations around the world have written to the World Health Organisation (WHO) raising concerns about the health body’s decision to consider classifying parental alienation as a “Caregiver-child relationship problem”.

The classification is being considered as an entry to the WHO’s official guide on diseases.

The Memo of Concern, which features signatories from 10 different countries, asks the WHO to remove references to parental alienation and related concepts in a section of the agency’s formal guide on health conditions about diseases on the grounds that alienation allegations are used to mask domestic abuse and frustrates decisions intended to be made in the best interests of children.

The memo was published on 22nd April and includes a summary of individuals’ and organisations’ concerns over the classification:

“It has recently come to our collective attention that the World Health Organization is considering the addition of “parental alienation” (PA) as a “caregiver-child relationship problem” in ICD-11, the International Classification of Diseases 11th Revision.

We are surprised by the lack of prior consultation in connection with gender equality issues associated with the concept and are deeply concerned about this proposal from a women’s safety and child development, health and safety point of view, as well as from research and science perspectives.

We are requesting removal of all references to “parental alienation” and related concepts in ICD-11 for the reasons set out in the attached document. Our research and experience in court has demonstrated that parental alienation, which lacks credibility, is frequently employed to divert attention from domestic violence and abuse and other evidence relevant to the best interests of the child.”

You can read the memo here.

Many thanks to Teresa for sharing this development with Researching Reform.