Robert Halfon MP supports urgent inquiry into use of “unregulated parental alienation experts” in Family Courts

News / Wed 22nd Jun 2022 at 08:03am

ROBERT Halfon, MP for Harlow and Chair of the Education Select Committee has joined four other Members of Parliament, including the Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, in signing a letter written by the Victim’s Commissioner directed at the Justice Secretary, calling for an enquiry, following a special report from the Observer which examines the use of unregulated ‘parental alienation’ experts in the Family Courts.

The article, titled:  Parental alienation and the unregulated experts are shattering children’s lives has found ample evidence that children and survivors of domestic abuse are being put at risk by the evidence provided by unregulated experts who do not belong to any professional body and therefore cannot be held to account for their testimony. 

The primary concerns include allegations of parental alienation being used to counter claims of domestic abuse and that children’s genuine fears of abuse can be subverted by experts and used as evidence of alienation. This would mean that judges are making child resident arrangements based on unsound advice. This is why, Mr. Halfon, along with other parliamentary colleagues are calling on the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the President of the Family Division, to commit to an urgent inquiry into the use of parental alienation experts in the Family Courts.

Backing the calls are 85 academics, lawyers, charity leaders and health workers who have signed a third letter to Raab. They warn: “There are clear dangers to the public who may unwittingly hire an unregulated expert witness and therefore have no legal redress should harm occur.”

The Victims Commissioner has commented: “We encourage domestic abuse victims to flee but if they have children with their abuser, we hear of them being dragged into the family courts where unregulated experts, profiting from peddling pseudoscience, cause further harm.” Ms Waxman has further added that the systems must ensure that experts have the relevant qualifications and where there are identified experts who are considered problematic, there needs to be a review of their cases. 

Robert Halfon has said  “As the MP for Harlow, I’ve seen some thoroughly tragic cases of domestic abuse but it always seems to me that the family court is weighted against the victim, rather than the perpetrator. There is one hurdle after another that the victim must jump over in terms of parental custody and access. Anything that can be done to ensure the court system presents a fair and real chance to limit parental access by abusers is welcome.”

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1 Comment for Robert Halfon MP supports urgent inquiry into use of “unregulated parental alienation experts” in Family Courts:

Sean F
2022-06-23 06:36:13

Please be aware or get enlightened on the bigger picture. The other side of the story is a tragedy that is more hidden and more sinister. Parental Alienation is destroying lives and is very real. Brazil, Portugal and Ireland are ahead of the game - one day all countries will criminalise PA. I am a victim. My child is a victim. I have been abused, I’m not even the abuser! And now my abuser ex-wife is doing the alienation. My child is conflicted and confused. And ultimately she has succumbed to the sinister manipulation because it’s the safest option for her to follow. I have lost her and I cannot describe the pain and horror. Please don’t be naïve and just bash PA victims as liars. A LOT of us have genuinely awful stories to tell.

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