We are the leading non-gendered, national charity campaigning for shared care. We are a charity dedicated to helping separated or divorced parents (and their wider families) continue to provide the love, care, and support that their children need – no matter how their parents may feel about each other.
We believe an assumption of shared care between parents would be by far the best starting point to benefit of the children.
We believe that the family Courts are failing our children with their long delays, obstruction of safe parenting opportunities for both parents and lack of support for mediated settlements of child arrangements.
Our national network of support group, both face to face and online, in just the past year have reported, more and more mums, dads and grandparents who find themselves victims of alienating behaviour by a bad parent, that serves to alienate the children from their other parent and their wider family and deprive the children from the love and support of a good parent.
This behaviour consists of:
- badmouthing the other parent or grandparent,
- telling the child, the other parent never loved them,
- making false allegation of domestic abuse to obtain legal aid,
- engineering delays to mediation or family court appearances
- involving the children in adult matters such as family court allegations,
- preventing contact between the children and other parent by phone or text,
- setting up special treats to prevent the other parents seeing their children,
- interrupting or obstructing online calls between child and parent,
- refusing to allow talk, memories, or mementos of the alienated parent,
- destruction of letters and gifts sent by the alienated parent,
- last minutes cancellation of court ordered parenting time,
- coaching children for interviews with CAFCASS, guardians or other professionals,
- changing school, Doctors or even moving away without consultation,
We hear from dozens of parents and grandparents monthly who have been victims of this kind of behaviour to such an extent that what was a normal loving relationship been parent and child is destroyed as the child aligns with the alienating parent and expresses hatred and loathing for their once loved parent.
The primary concern of these parents is the damage done to the emotional health of the child by this continuing behaviour. We also see the effect on the alienated parents as they slip into depression and worse. All too often the courts have no serious solution to the problem and absolve themselves of responsibility by leaving the future arrangements to the child and ordering infrequent contact between parent and child in the form of letters, usually unanswered, or small gifts, often returned.
Some alienated parents stay with our charity to help other victims. They live a heart broken life, unable to resolve their living grief as they see the alienation reinforced. Returning to court sees them labelled as controlling, intractably hostile or refusing to accept their responsibility.
Paul O’Callaghan, Chair of Trustees says “whatever label we give it, and we know the label ‘Parental Alienation’ is a distraction for many, the harm it is causing mothers, fathers, grandparents and especially children up and down the country is undeniable. To have safe and loving parents being denied contact with children they love and who have loved them, simply due to the system allowing it or while some ideological debate continues can no longer be acceptable. It must be seen for what it is, a national health crisis.”
FNF believes that an intervention involving a negotiated parenting plan at the early stages of family breakdown would help to prevent alienating behaviours. We support the efforts of CAFCASS to develop programs to support this, but while it is still possible to refuse mediation for no sound reason, make false allegations of domestic abuse for legal aid and court delays give ample opportunity for alienating behaviours to mature, our country will have to live with one of the highest level of separated parents in Europe, a growing youth population with mental health worries and increasing male suicide rates. For any parent suffering you are not alone, please call our helpline 0300 0300 363, or visit one of our support groups.
For further information, quotations from our service users or infographics please contact us by email at email@example.com or leave a message on 0300 0300 110.
Notes for editors:
Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter FNF is the leading registered UK charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status. FNF is NOT a fathers' rights group - we support the best interests of children - namely mature and collaborative parenting by both parents - an objective which is inadequately promoted in the family court system and associated services.
FNF receive approximately 20,000 - 25-000 calls a year for help a year and thousands more rely on our local branch network and online support.
Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s meaningful relationship with both parents.
Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.
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