Baroness Meyer appealing for an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill 8th March 2021

The Domestic Abuse Bill has been moving through Parliament since 3rd March 2020 and reached the Report Stage in the Lords on Monday 8th March 2021, when Baroness Meyer proposed an amendment to address the damaging effects of parental alienation (PA).

Baroness Meyer has been championing an amendment to the Bill to address the emotionally and psychologically damaging effects of Parental Alienation (PA). Very disappointingly, her previous amendment had not been supported in the Lords.  A further proposed amendment was discussed in the Lords on Monday 8th March:

Amendment 2: 2: Clause 1, page 2, line 12, at end insert “, such as a parent’s behaviour deliberately designed to damage the relationship between a child of the parent and the other parent.”

Her proposed amendment did not use the words 'parental alienation' but recognised the behaviour. It has been argued by others that the Bill already covers controlling behaviour such as this, though it would have been helpful to have that formally recognised.

PA was discussed in the House of Lords for 2 hours on Monday, which is a positive in itself and it cannot now be brushed under the table.

Here is Baroness Meyer’s speech which we would recommend watching. You can also read the full discussion on this proposed Amendment in the Lords Hansard script from Column 1334 to Column 1362.

The positive contributions made to support this Amendment were made by Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Baroness, Lady Altmann, and Lytton as well as Lord Robert Winston who many people will know for being a medical doctor, scientist and television presenter (view from this link). 

Although the positive contributions, it is clear that many members of the Lords still fail to understand the abusive and damaging nature of PA. 

At present a formal amendment to the Bill is proving challenging, however, there is much support for guidance on PA to be included in Notes to the Bill.

The law won't stop PA, but if the amendment survives into the Bill, it will lay down a marker. The trouble with criminal law is that it demands a high level of proof, that often will not exist, but the message will be important. With your help, our focus will now increasingly switch to how alienating behaviours are addressed, the delays that exacerbate problems, etc.

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