The Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CFCASS) have continued to warn against the danger of parental alienation through a recent comment made by the head of that service, Anthony Douglas.

The head of CFCASS, who works with children and their families involved in care proceeding and those in private disputes, spoke to the national press this week.

He compared the deliberate manipulation of a child by one parent against the other as a form of abuse and as such it should be dealt with like any other form of neglect or child abuse. He commented that it “undoubtedly is a form of neglect of child abuse in terms of the impact that it can have”.

There is no doubt that when relationships breakdown children can unfortunately be caught in the cross-fire and become a means by which one parent seeks to assert control over the other. The side effects and the impact on the child of this are often ignored or not appreciated.

Parental alienation is a term that is more commonly being used both in the Family Court and by litigants.  It is something that is a difficult process and which is in its embryonic stages in terms of how it is considered by the Family Court. If you are involved in a case where you are accused of parental alienation or you suspect you are the subject of parental alienation then it is important to seek early expert advice.

Mark Smith is a partner and specialist family solicitor with a specialism in disputes involving children. Our family law team advises families across the South West on the best solutions for them. If you would like to get in touch with the team by telephone 0345 450 5558 or email