PAS (Parental Alienation "Syndrome")
It is the position of Justice for Children that PAS is junk science.
"P.A.S. per se (not “parents lying about abuse allegations”) is not a syndrome. People lie on the witness stand every day but that does not make it a syndrome. Various credible studies have documented that the incidence of false allegations of abuse in custody proceedings make up significantly less than 5% of all abuse allegations in custody proceedings. When mental health experts or attorneys claim that P.A.S. is a “syndrome” -- knowing full well that it lacks scientific validity, is the concoction of a disgraced psychologist, and has been soundly rejected by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges -- that is disingenuous at best and unethical at worst. Moreover, when it is used as a vehicle to keep children in the custody of men who abuse them, it is also immoral. " - Randy Burton, Founder, Chairman and President - Justice for Children
PAS is touted to be an accepted psychological “syndrome” when, in fact, it has no scientific foundation and has been routinely rejected by courts and mental health professionals as admissible in the courtroom. Nonetheless, PAS is still being used by unscrupulous attorneys and hired gun “experts” to attack the credibility of, parents, usually mothers, and undermine the testimony of little children who have accused their fathers of unspeakable acts of abuse.
- PAS is not included in DSM IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition) which is the authoritative manual for the professions of psychiatry and psychology. There are some fathers’ rights groups who are mounting a letter writing campaign to have PAS included in DSM V which is ridiculous because the DSM is based on research, clinical tests, and professional judgment – not letters of opinion.
- PAS cannot pass the challenges for acceptance as “scientific” or “expert” in courts of law. These challenges are called the “Daubert Challenges” named after a Supreme Court ruling on what constitutes scientific or expert testimony.
- The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has a position that PAS is not to be used in court.
- National on-line resource center on violence against women
- The Family Court Reform Coalition's memorandum investigating the lack of scientific support for PAS: Lack Of Empirical Data, Research or Scientific Basis to Support the Controversial Psychological Theory Called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
- National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges recently published their Navigating Custody and Visitation Evaluations in Cases with Domestic Violence: A Judge’s Guide. JFC is pleased that the guide includes a section on the admissibility of Parental Alienation Syndrome testimony in custody hearings (on page 19):
Richard Gardner’s theory positing the existence of “parental alienation syndrome” or “PAS” has been discredited by the scientific community. Testimony that a party to a custody case suffers from the syndrome should therefore be ruled inadmissible both under the standard established inDaubert and the stricter Frye standard.
This council of judges has deemed that the evidence against the existence of PAS is sufficient enough to throw out the concept entirely! Hopefully this will bring some justice to those who have been unlawfully accused of this imaginary and outrageous "syndrome."
To read the guide in its entirety, please click here.
- State Board of Psychology of Ohio determines Suitability of Darnall: Dec. 9, 2002 Sept. 12, 2003
had his licence suspend in Ohio.
Justice For Children urges PAS rejection, reverse lower court's ruling
- Linville PAS Brief
Amicus brief filed by Justice for Children in Linville case. Brief was written by the law firm of Haynes and Boone, LLP
Brief on Parental Alientation "Syndrome"
Is evidence of parental alienation "syndrome" reliable and relevent in child custody cases?
- Parental Alienation "Syndrome": A Guide for Attorneys or Pro Se Litigants