Sandra Davis, Head of the Family department at Mishcon de Reya, featured on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on 21 November, commenting on parental alienation. In Sandra's words, this is where "one parent undermines the role that the other parent has in their children's lives".
In the report, journalist Michael Cowan speaks to both parents and children who have experienced alienation, giving an indication of the impact this has on the individuals concerned. At present, there is no official guidance for judges on parental alienation in the UK. According to Sandra, "The Family Court System is currently creaking with the withdrawal of legal aid, with litigants acting in person. So whilst its incumbent for the judge to move these cases through [the system] as quickly as possible, and to judge consistently, resources are an issue."
"I think it would be of real assistance to have mandatory mediation and mandatory therapeutic involvement at an early stage of the process" She added. "This would go some way to preventing positions becoming too ingrained and the child – or children – having a chance of maintaining a relationship [with their parent] before it sours completely."
The programme can be viewed on iPlayer here – the section on parental alienation begins approximately 15 minutes in (please note this clip is available until 20 December).
Children's charity Place2Be and Mishcon de Reya have produced a book written for adults by children on the topic of parental separation. Find out more here.