Call for evidence to the UN on “parental alienation”

Custody cases, violence against women and violence against children

Call for evidence by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against women and girls: “Purpose: To inform the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls’ report on the nexus between custody and guardianship cases, violence against women and violence against children, with a focus on the abuse of the concept of “parental alienation” and related or similar concepts.”

SNS, including Women Against Rape, will give evidence to the Special Rapporteur about what’s happening to mothers fighting to protect our children in family courts in the UK.  We’re calling for an end to the use of “parental alienation” in family courts and to change the law on the “presumption of contact” which abusive fathers rely on to insist on unsupervised contact with children, often against children’s wishes.      Everyone is welcome to send in evidence and it’s important for mothers who’ve been accused of “parental alienation” to share your experience. 

Deadline: 15 December 2022   Send to:   Max: 2,000 words

E-mail subject line: Input for SR VAWG’s report on violence against women and children in custody cases

For more background information see here.

 These are the particular issues to cover:   

  1. The different manifestations or specific types of domestic and intimate partner violence experienced by women and children, including the use of “parental alienation” and related concepts in child custody and access cases. Please also include a description of the different forms of violence that may be experienced by the mother and child as well as fundamental human rights violations, where relevant.
  2. The factors behind the increased number of allegations of parental alienation cases in custody battles and/or disputes involving allegations of domestic violence and abuse against women, and its differentiated impact on specific groups of women and children.
  3. The way in which different groups of women and children experience this phenomenon differently based on any intersecting elements such as age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, legal residence, religious or political belief or other considerations and the factors that contribute to these situations.
  4. The role that professionals play, including welfare workers, child protection services, guardian ad-litem, psychologists, psychiatrists, and how they are regulated in any way as expert witnesses.
  5. The consequences of the disregard for the history of domestic violence and abuse and intimate partner violence or the penalising of such allegations in custody cases on the human rights of both the mother and the child, and the interrelationship between these rights.
  6. The challenges in collecting disaggregated data on courts’ practices concerning custody cases, the areas/sectors for which data is particularly lacking and the reasons for such challenges.
  7. The good practices, strategies adopted by different organs of the State or other non-State actors, at local, national, regional, or international level to improve the due consideration of domestic and family violence, including intimate partner violence against women and abuse of children in determining child custody, as well as in providing remedies and redress for victims/survivors.
  8. Recommendations for preventing the inadequate consideration of a history of domestic violence and abuse and gender stereotyping in custody cases to restore the human rights of mothers and their children, as well as ensure that survivors/victims are effectively protected and assisted.
  9. Any other issue of relevance that are vital for consideration but that may not have been mentioned in this call for inputs.

Please send us copies of any evidence you submit.