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Parental Alienation must be excluded from all custody hearings
By Preston Thymes | 02/18/10 12:00 AM PSTParental Alienation is a perilous accusation that should never be recognized in courts or viewed as particularly compelling in cases deciding the custody of a child, especially when resolving profoundly difficult questions concerning the scary scenario of placing that child back into the home of a domestic violence abuser.
By definition, Parental Alienation is a “syndrome” that manifest in the process of divorce when a parent suffering from “deflated self-esteem” as “part of a normal grieving response to interpersonal loss” to “enforce their agenda” and “The alienating parent may or may not be consciously aware of manipulating the child and the legal/social systems. Alienating parents often believe that the accusations they make are true, but have developed those beliefs by a faulty reasoning process.”
First, it is important to begin by evaluating the premise of Parental Alienation, which is not a recognized syndrome by the American Medical Association.
Second, American Psychological Association has never issued a position on Parental Alienation.
Third, nowhere in the vast database of the Harvard Medical School Countway Library stacks of the History of medicine and medical discoveries from the 16th–21st centuries, is there any information on Parental Alienation syndrome.
Fourth, that may underline why vocal proponents of, Parental Alienation Syndrome such as Glenn Sacks is the Executive Director of Fathers and Families, are captious in their language stating, “Mental Health professionals have been making progress in increasing recognition of PA.” I am not entirely aware if the claim warranted by The California Alliance for Families and Children who state “It is of our opinion that the way forward to address everyone’s concern is through better education on the issue,” is based on an awareness that such research is not possible through The Center for the History of Medicine Archives and Records Rare Books, Databases or Dictionaries at Harvard Medical School or Harvard School of Public Health?
Admittedly, proponents of Parental Alienation find their support in precedent from not “preventing a court from considering evidence that a parent had deliberately engaged in tactics and behavior that intentionally estranges a childs bond with their other parent,” but that is where their view deviates from the often lengthy, brutal and inhumane violence that occurs right in front of a child’s eyes forced to witness a domestic violence relationship proceed night after night.
Furthermore, many of their citations omit any specific objections to the use of Parental Alienation in a real-life situations where a victim is unable to obtain restraining order barring abusers from estranged loved one so the hope left is flee the danger.
Arguments to the contrary stand in stark contrast not only to the history of California Protective Orders Laws, codes and statutes but also the evidentiary precedent, in which a victim “alienating” a child from a monster not as procedural posture, but as survival instincts that arises when violence is emanate.
I struggle to understand how a “syndrome” that manifests in the process of divorce changes the fact that escaping domestic violence, even if by “alienation” merits relief no matter how it is arrived at.
As the head of Public Relations for one of only two domestic violence survivors shelters on the Central Coast, here at Shelter Outreach Plus, we see the faces of the children wet from tears as a parent is forced to keep them out of school for a week, because the estranged parent showed up at the attendance office at the child’s elementary and tried to take them away.
At Shelter Outreach plus, we render any claims of Parental Alienation invalid, because as often the last hope for a women in crisis who has no idea if her abusers will turn the violence from her onto the children, we absolutely do everything we can keep that person away from those children be-it our legal advocates through restraining orders, our The Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) through hotel vouchers or one of our 2 secret facilities throughout the region to encourage “alienation” and foster hope.
At Shelter Outreach Plus, we view Parental Alienation as less of “syndrome” in the mind a helpless child of more of a twisted form of retribution in the twisted spirit of a domestic violence abuser.
At Shelter Outreach Plus, we believe the California court system should look to establish every safeguard possible to avail a domestic violence victim a way to mend a broken heart and concurringly seek out emergency shelter without fear of facing Parental Alienation in a future custody case.
We fully support AB 612, which is coming up vote in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ban Parental Alienation Theory, and we fully support Assembly Member Jim Beall, Jr. (AD 24th) as author of the Bill. His continuing efforts to give voice to the battered women who on their own, could never find the courage to articulate the desperation they felt as the moment they knew they had to take their children and disappear.
Parental Alienation is at best, a deterrence that only diminishes whatever possible benefit that might be received from restoring the love that obliviously once was there in the home of a family by searching for justifications to delay a child’s removal from a terrifying situation.