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Is it the U.S. Government’s responsibility to protect and uphold its citizen’s constitutional Rights?

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on March 22, 2012 at 2:00 am

Is it the U.S. Government’s responsibility to protect and uphold its citizen’s constitutional Rights?
By Wolfeman77346 Aug 13 2008

Although government promotes itself endlessly as our indispensable “protector” and principle guardian of our Constitutional Rights, it’s not true.

Nevertheless, that self-promotion has effectively conditioned most Americans to believe our Constitutional Rights are respected and vigorously protected by government and public servants. Unfortunately, only a few people realize that government does not automatically protect our Rights, that our inclination to trust government is dangerously misguided, and that our ignorance of our Rights encourages government to abuse those Rights.

The relationship between any government and its citizens is, and has always been, at best, ADVERSARIAL: individual Rights are inversely proportional to government power. The more power the government has, the fewer Rights you have. Government can’t grow in size or power except at the cost of our individual Rights and freedom.

The founding fathers also realized that all governments seek to expand their powers and are therefore driven to diminish their citizen’s Rights. Hence, the Constitution was written to both limit government and maximize our individual Rights.

In truth, the American Constitution is essentially an anti-government document.

The Constitution’s principle purpose is not simply to specify our individual Rights, but to shield us from the single organization that will always pose the greatest threat to those Rights: our own government. That’s why we have three branches of government, checks and balances, elections every two years, the opportunity to call constitutional conventions, the Right to jury trials, and the Right to keep and bear arms – each political mechanism was designed to empower the public to restrict government and thereby to protect the people against government’s inevitable urge to tyranny.

If the principle enemy of any people is their own government, and if the principle defender of the American people is the American Constitution, then it follows that the first enemy of our government is our Constitution. Government understands this conflict, but tries to conceal it from the public by claiming to be the only interpreter and protector of the Constitution.

But if only the government interprets the Constitution, then those interpretations are typically biased to empower government — the Constitution’s archenemy — at the expense of the people.

Given the conflict between government and our Constitution, it follows that:

1) The government is not interested in protecting the Constitution;

2) Although the government uses the Constitution to legitimize itself, it’s principle interest is in DESTROYING the Constitution; and

3) That the only party able to truly protect and defend YOUR Rights is YOU.

Sound far-fetched? It’s not. Even the courts agree.

The individual Rights guaranteed by our Constitution can be compromised or ignored by our government.

For example, in US. vs.Johnson (76 Fed Supp. 538), Federal District Court Judge James Alger Fee ruled that,

“The privilege against self-incrimination is neither accorded to the passive resistant, nor to the person who is ignorant of his rights, nor to one indifferent thereto. It is a FIGHTING clause. It’s benefits can be retained only by sustained COMBAT. It cannot be claimed by attorney or solicitor. It is valid only when insisted upon by a BELLIGERENT claimant in person.” McAlister vs. Henkel, 201 U.S. 90, 26 S.Ct. 385, 50 L. Ed. 671; Commonwealth vs. Shaw, 4 Cush. 594, 50 Am.Dec. 813; Orum vs. State, 38 Ohio App. 171, 175 N.E. 876. The one who is persuaded by honeyed words or moral persuasion to testify or produce documents rather than make a last ditch stand, simply loses the protection. . . . He must refuse to answer or produce, and test the matter in contempt proceedings, or by habeas corpus.”

Note the verdict’s confrontational language: “fighting”, “combat”, and most surprising, “belligerent”. Did you ever expect to ever read a Federal Court condemn citizens for being “passive” or “ignorant”? Did you ever expect to see a verdict that encouraged citizens to be “belligerent” IN COURT…?

Better go back and re-read that extraordinary verdict. And read it again. And commit it to memory, for it succinctly describes the essence of the American legal system.

The court ruled that the Constitutional Right against self-incrimination is NOT automatically guaranteed to any citizen by any government branch or official. Moreover, despite the government’s usual propaganda, this Right is NOT available to all persons: It is not available to the “passive”, the “ignorant”, or the “indifferent”. Nor can this Right be claimed by an attorney on behalf of his client. The Right against self-incrimination is available only to the knowledgeable, “belligerent claimant”, to the individual willing to engage in “sustained combat” to FIGHT for his RIGHT.

Government is obligated to recognize your Constitutional Right against self-incrimination only if you fight for that right. Our courts are free to ignore this Right for any citizen who is

1) Ignorant of his Right and/or

2) Lacks the courage to fight for his Right. Therefore, anyone who trusts the courts (or even his own lawyer) to protect his Constitutional Right against self-incrimination is a fool and may pay a fool’s price.

If one of our Constitutional Rights is only available to citizens who are both knowledgeable and belligerent, how are the balances of our Rights any different?

They’re not.

Fundamentally, if you don’t know your Rights, the court is under no obligation to inform you, or to protect your Rights. Even if you know your Rights, but lack the guts to fight for them, again, the court is not obligated to protect you. If you are superior to the Government, then why SHOULD they be obligated to inform their Master? Ignorance of the law is NO EXCUSE! In the same respect, if the executive or legislative branch violates the Constitution, it is our duty to fight to restore the limitations provided by the constitution.

In fact, your ignorance or passivity legally empowers your adversary to exploit you in court. If the opposing side tries to railroad you and ignore your Constitutional Rights, the judge is not obligated to protect your Rights. This is particularly true in cases where your opponent is the government (a District Attorney, for example, or the I.R.S.). This is seen repeatedly when the sheep are led into our courts, sheared, bled, and butchered under the kindly gaze of the presiding judge.

That’s the way our courts really are: The ignorant and the passive can be routinely railroaded and abused without ever understanding that the cause for their abuse is their own ignorance or cowardice.

Our cowardice and fear of the courts typically entices us to “play nice” with the judge. But that’s exactly the wrong strategy because by “playing nice”, we become accomplices in our own destruction. By not objecting and defying the courts, we implicitly approve, validate, and accept whatever injustice the court cares to dispense on our lives. By not fighting, we give the government license to destroy us.

The key to a successful defense of our Rights is not to kiss up to the judge with yes-your-honor’s, no-your-honor’s, and pray-the-court’s, but to stand up and belligerently defy the system.

Given that the government does not defend our Rights, what’s a reasonable person to do?

Clearly, we must do SOMETHING, for as Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” But apathy isn’t simply a function of cowardice or indifference; “apathy” is a synonym for “ignorance”.

Ignorance makes the public more “manageable” in the courts and in confrontations with the government. Insofar as government naturally seeks to expand its powers at the expense of the citizen’s Rights, government has a vested interest in the public’s ignorance and consequent apathy. The interest in expanding its powers encourages the government to provide little, no, or even false, education on what our Rights should be.

So first, you must learn your Constitutional Rights. If you don’t know what your Rights are, you can’t “fight” for them.

Second, given the reality of American education, you can’t rely on the state to teach you anything other than basic vocational training. Therefore, you must study your rights, learn about law, history and EDUCATE YOURSELF.

Third, teach your friends and neighbors. It’s not enough to know YOUR Rights. You must also know and respect your neighbor’s. Like-wise, your neighbor must learn to know and respect his, and you’re Rights, too. Our chances of compelling government to concede our Rights are hugely improved when the general public also understands and respects those Rights.

Fourth, knowledge alone is not enough: once you know your Rights, find the courage to fight for them. Courage (“belligerence”) is the final requirement to secure your Rights. Fight for YOUR Rights, and more, learn to respect others, no matter how seemingly bizarre, who also fight for THEIR Rights. Make no mistake — anyone who’s fighting for HIS Rights, is also fighting for YOURS. He’s entitled to your respect.

Fifth, don’t trust the government. Recognize the true nature of a citizen’s relationship to government is ADVERSARIAL. All governments naturally seek to expand their powers at the cost of their citizen’s Rights, both nationally and internationally. This has been true since time began and will not change in this life. You have what they want: personal power (and as consequence, freedom from government authority). Trusting the government has already enslaved us. It is up to us to break these bonds and restore true liberty and freedom.

The most effective tyrannies begin by luring their subjects with carrots. Only later, after the people are addicted to government and weak, will they use the stick to compel public obedience.

America thrived for nearly two centuries based on the Constitution’s mandate of limited government/maximum freedom. But limited government demands personal self-reliance. As government has grown in size with the carrots of welfare, entitlements, and special interest programs, the public has become increasingly dependent of the government, and the nation has declined.

This is America, boys and girls. It’s more than a piece of land; it’s a political miracle — the only nation in the world with an anti-government Constitution. But this miracle is conditional and dependant on the knowledge, courage, and self-reliance of its citizens. Freedom will not flourish in a nation of ignorant fools and irresponsible weaklings. To live free takes knowledge, nerve, and personal responsibility.

From http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/911242

Is it the U.S. Government’s responsibility to protect and uphold its citizen’s constitutional Rights?.

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Why Do Mother’s Rights Groups Ignore Parental Alienation? When a Mother does this to Children She is Applauded as a Protective Mother (Kidnapper)?

In Activism, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Marriage, mothers rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on September 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm


This article on angimedia presents a very important point: why do Mother’s Rights groups call Parental Alienation the defense of an “abuser” when the mother has custody, but not so when a father has custody? The woman in this story was treated like millions of men in this country, faced false allegations of abuse, but women’s rights / mother’s rights groups totally ignored what was happening to her because it involved Parental Alienation?  The feminist sexists rhetoric about domestic violence has been proven to be a lie by HHS statistics, yet men are still vilified by exactly what happened to Tonya in this horrendous story.

Tonya Craft’s Ex, Parental Alienator Joal Henke, Shows Kids Will Lie About Sexual Abuse To Hurt Target Parent

Written by: Chris Print This Article Print This Article Share 25
Use of Our Content (Reposting and Quoting)

Tonya Craft
Tonya Craft

False sexual abuse allegations are an appalling mainstay in child custody cases today. They cause immense damage to the falsely accused parent and to the children. The false accuser usually doesn’t care who they hurt so long as they get the kids as a result. The courts and government are quick to side with the false accuser, demanding that a careful investigation be done and in the meantime the children will live with the parent making the accusations.

These “investigations” are often nothing but a witch-hunt that takes multiple years to fizzle out. By that time, the children involved are often suffering badly from the lack of a parent who loves them. The falsely accused parent has often not only lost years with his children but has lost his job, career, home, savings, reputation, and quite possibly a new marriage, too. Usually none of this is remedied. The falsely accused parent doesn’t even receive an apology from anyone. Some “mother’s rights” groups don’t care about any of this and view false sexual abuse allegations as a sure-win strategy of choice because they are willing to do anything to get children away from their fathers, even when it results in psychological damage to the children. But the recent case of Tonya Craft may give reason for them to change their positions. That’s because it is a case in which the mother was falsely accused of sexual abuse by her ex-husband, a malicious parental alienator of the most vile sort named Joal Henke.

Blindly Taking Sides Against Accused Parent Is A Mistake

The casual observer not versed in the pathological behaviors of the courts, government, and abusive parents would tend to take either the government’s side or the accusing parent’s side. Such people are quick to jump on the “execute the child molester” bandwagon, often simply after hearing allegations with no proof other than reports of what a child is claimed to have said to a government investigator.

This is a serious mistake. Children, particularly toddlers through early elementary school kids, can be coached to lie or even worse against a parent. The “even worse” can be a lot worse. If you doubt this, consider the case of Dr. Rick Lohstroh whose ten year old son was trained to kill his father and shot him in the back with a handgun owned and supplied to him by his malicious mother, Deborah Geisler. A ten year old ought to know that shooting a gun into the back of another person is wrong, yet this one did it to his father because his mother taught him to do so.

Being familiar with how family law courts work, how alienating and personality disordered parents think and behave, and the many far from rational witch hunts that result from somebody uttering the words “child sexual abuse”, I’ve come to the conclusion that often a child’s claims of sexual abuse are fabricated or distorted. A parent, a law enforcement official, a therapist, or some combination of these three wants a particular answer. It’s not hard to convince a young child to give the wanted answer. Sometimes it is done with malicious intent, other times it is through sheer incompetence. Either way, the result can be a child falsely accusing a parent that never harmed the child and whom the child loves dearly.

Furthermore, government investigators are notorious for asking leading questions that manipulate witnesses, especially naive children, to get the answers they want. Even when they do not answer as desired, the investigator can create the appearance of the desired answer by altering evidence including modifying lengthy transcripts of interviews that few people will spend many hours to carefully review. As more and more people are dragged into the roles of witnesses, reality is quickly replaced by some sick fiction in which nearly everybody questioned has a story about how the accused is obviously a child molester. Many of these people would rather hang an innocent than to risk being tainted by failing to drive an accusatory knife into the back of the government’s target. Mass hysteria overcomes responsible behavior.

Being Charged With A Crime Is Far From Being Guilty

Even when somebody is charged with a crime and put on trial, sometimes it turns out the entire thing is an abusive sham in which either the wrong person is accused or there was never any abuse against the children. More accurately, there was no abuse up until the time which the government got involved and psychologically tormented the children in the name of “investigating” baseless accusations. This is exactly what happened in the case of Tonya Craft.

Tonya Craft was a kindergarten teacher in Georgia. At first, it was her young daughter who was accused of molesting other children. Then the allegations grew and shifted to blame Tonya for molesting her own daughter and other children.

Her kids were removed from her and placed with her ex-husband who conveniently happened to be one of her accusers. She was investigated, arrested, charged, and tried. Yet in May 2010, two years into her nightmare, Tonya Craft was found innocent of all 22 charges of sexually molesting three children including her own daughter.

Why is that? It’s because she was falsely accused by other parents who didn’t like her, including her ex-husband Joal Henke who appears to have been engaging in parental alienation child abuse by encouraging and teaching their daughter to falsely accuse her mother of sexual abuse. The jury could see the evidence was worthless, the prosecution’s witnesses lacked credibility, and the judge and prosecution were in obscene collusion. This is exactly why a jury is needed in any case involving child abuse allegations. If it had been left to corrupt Judge Brian House, Tonya Craft would have been found guilty.

Judge Brian House
Judge Brian House

The Craft case was a kangaroo court disaster every which way, from start to finish. Investigators repeatedly broke the protocols on how to interview children to get accurate answers. The prosecution team lead by Chris Arnt and Len Gregor arranged for improper questioning of the children and brainwashing of Craft’s own daughter to testify against her. The prosecution also hid exculpatory evidence.

Even the judge was complicit in the misconduct. Judge Brian House was Craft’s ex-husband’s former divorce attorney, given this he should have clearly recused himself but he did not. Then House let a tainted jury be seated that included Craft’s former brother-in-law.

Yet despite all of this, the jury could see there was no legitimacy to the case against Craft. One hopes they will have much more to say publicly about the appalling performance of the courts and government in this case as it will take a great deal of public outrage to ensure this never happens again.

Joal Henke’s Actions Constitute Parental Alienation Child Abuse

What Joal Henke did by coaching his daughter to falsely accuse her mother is parental alienation child abuse. There is no question in my mind that Henke is a child abuser given his actions. No parent should ever encourage or coach a child to lie against the other parent, especially not to cause them to be charged with a crime. Getting increased custody is no excuse for such actions.

Even if the impact on the other parent is not considered, such actions are severely detrimental to the children. Can you imagine what their little girl may think about herself when one day she realizes she put her mother in jail and ruined her life? Adults may say “the child is not to blame” but do you honestly think the child is going to feel that way? Kids tend to blame themselves and in this case, the blame is over something very major.

Joal Henke is a sleazy person at best as you can tell from his court testimony in the trial:

(from Who Is Joal Henke?)

Joal Henke is someone who is not easily shamed. For example, when Tonya was suing him for divorce several years ago, he denied her claims that he was having affairs with other women until he was confronted with strong evidence of him engaging in adultery. He had a “change of heart” when he realized he was caught.

Interestingly, when confronted with that material on the witness stand during Tonya’s trial, he claimed to not have been aware that there was evidence of his adultery. That, of course, was perjury, but it was a minor instance to some of the other things he did while under oath.

Henke’s greatest “I just remembered” feat of perjury, however, came with his allegation during his April 23 testimony when he claimed that on the way to court that morning, he had “recalled” an alleged “lesbian” incident involving Tonya and a friend of hers. (That and other whoppers are included in this media link from WRCB-TV for that day.)

First, one does not “just remember” something like what he had described. Such an event would be the kind that he would have told police and prosecutors up front. Second, it also tells us about the prosecutors and “judge” Outhouse that they would have let Henke enter this testimony in the first place, and that from the trial testimony, “Alberto-Facebook” clearly was anxious to make sure Joal made the allegations.

Would Shared Parenting Have Helped Avoid The False Accusations?

As bad a person as Joal Henke appears, one questions if he would ever have engaged in this level of parental alienation if he and Tonya Craft shared child custody more evenly. In their 2004 divorce, the typical sexist pattern of giving full custody to the mother and limited visitation to the father was ordered by the court. Further, it appears even this was not working out well:

Craft ex not opposed to more visitation

In 2004, Ms. Craft, following the couple’s divorce, was granted full custody. In June 2008, when the criminal charges against her surfaced, Mr. Henke requested in court and received full custody of the children. Since then, Ms. Craft has had supervised visitation with her son and no contact with her daughter.

The couple for years has had bad blood, court documents show. There are three large files on their ongoing custody disputes in the Hamilton Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

The files show typical shared-custody disputes such as not dropping off the children on time or not allowing phone calls between the children and parents.

Recent court filings have focused on Ms. Craft’s ongoing legal troubles, including numerous files and documents sealed from public view.

Tonya Craft didn’t deserve what was done to her. More importantly, the children didn’t deserve it. But there should be little question that the government siding with Craft over her ex-husband prior to the false allegations probably had something to do with Joal Henke wanting to help frame her for a fictitious crime in order to have some time with his kids. Shared parenting with a 50/50 time split with the courts refusing to budge from this without a criminal conviction (or some other arrangement mutually agreed to by both parents) would probably have vastly improved the circumstances for everybody. That includes the children, parents, community, and the befuddled taxpayers who footed the huge bill for the judicial and prosecutorial atrocities.

Craft and Henke have reached a secret temporary agreement on child custody. A long-term custody arrangement awaits a court decision no earlier than July 22, 2010.

Judicial and Prosecutorial Misconduct

There are calls for an FBI investigation of the prosecutor’s office for its misconduct. It would be well-deserved, but the FBI probably lacks enough investigators to go after all the abusive and corrupt judges and prosecutors playing these sorts of illegal tricks. The courts of the United States, particularly those influenced by nepotism, money, greed, and the bottom-feeding majority of family law attorneys are a mockery of justice. However, investigating, disbarring, and prosecuting the judge and prosecutors in this case might dissuade at least a few others engaged in similar practices.

False Sex Abuse Cases Elsewhere

Outrageous prosecutions of innocents on trumped up charges are not isolated to backwards areas of Georgia. These kinds of things have happened in big cities like San Diego and Los Angeles, too. These atrocities have spanned many years, many of them starting in the 1980′s or 1990′s and not resulting in innocent people finally being released until the 2000′s.

Obviously, despite debacles such as the Wade and Akiki cases in San Diego, the McMartin Pre-School case in Los Angeles, and the Fells Acres Day Care Center case in Massachusetts , governments have learned nothing and continue to abuse parents even when the accusers have a vested interest in seeing them ruined and their accusations should be viewed with great suspicion.

James Wade

One of the most notable child sexual abuse fraud cases is that of James Wade who was falsely accused of raping his daughter Alicia Wade. A serial child rapist Albert Raymond Carder already being prosecuted for crimes against children in the same neighborhood was the actual perpetrator, but prosecutor Elizabeth Jane Via denied this even when the judge in the case directly queried her about this possibility. This family was split into pieces as the San Diego government raced against time to adopt out the daughter after having paid therapist Kathleen Goodfriend to brainwash her to falsely accuse her father, something that took a year to do given the girl’s strenuous objections to her father’s involvement and statements that some unknown man had climbed through her bedroom window to attack her.

(from Torture of the Wade Family by San Diego CPS)

In a videotaped interview, Alicia was asked with whom she would feel most safe. “My mom, dad, and brother,” she answered. The transcript of the tape, however, chopped the reference to the father. A child-protection official later acknowledged that he never bothered to review the video.

Alicia’s therapist was Kathleen Goodfriend of the La Mesa Village Counseling Group, who worked on the case entirely without supervision. Like the social workers now pawing through the Wades’ lives, Goodfriend ignored the evidence and assumed more or less automatically that Jim Wade had been the attacker, although his daughter continued to staunchly deny this in their sessions. Receiving more than $11,000 in state monies for this case alone, Goodfriend began relentlessly to brainwash Alicia Wade, now totally isolated from her family, pressuring her into naming an “acceptable perpetrator”. That is, her father.

The Grand Jury eventually subpoenaed Goodfriend’s notes, which contained many comments about how Alicia “liked” her therapist. But Alicia’s own testimony makes it clear that the child wanted only to go home. The Grand Jury was also alarmed that Goodfriend taught the child about masturbation “without any parental input or apparent interest by the child”.

While Goodfriend worked on Alicia’s mind, the Wades’ social workers were working on her future. They rejected Alicia’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, the pastor of the family church and the father’s attorney as possible custodians for Alicia because of their “allegiance with the parents”. One social worker told Alicia’s grandmother not even to waste her time coming to San Diego because her son James was guilty of raping Alicia, who would not be coming home to anyone in the family. Instead, they were sticking the girl in a foster home and the social worker and Goodfriend would be controlling all access to it.

Children are put into foster homes as quickly as possible because that act opens the floodgates of federal funds. Foster parents receive $484 a month for a child from ages 5 to 18, almost twice the amount a welfare mother receives for her own offspring. Special care cases can bring up to $1,000 a month. And all funds are tax free. Some foster parents are concerned and caring, but others are entrepreneurs in what the Grand Jury called “the baby-brokering business”. They depend on the goodwill of social workers to get and keep the little human beings who keep the government checks coming.

ADA Chris Arnt
Prosecutor Chris Arnt

The prosecutor in the Wade case, Elizabeth Jane Via, outright lied to the court and was directly responsible for much of the misconduct in the case. The jury recommended she be investigated for misconduct. But surprise, Via reportedly works for the County of San Diego’s abusive District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in 2010.

Prosecutors who engage in such misconduct often escape without a scratch. So don’t be surprised if House, Arnt, and Gregor escape free of any consequences for their shockingly abusive conduct against Tonya Craft. The government itself will likely not raise a finger to hold them accountable for their actions. Hopefully voters will do so instead, perhaps by recall elections or other means.

Dale Akiki

Not long after the Wade case, in 1993 the San Diego government helped solidify its reputation as an abuser of law and persecutor of innocents via the Dale Akiki “Sunday school satanism” witch hunt. This deeply disturbing story features a community crusade to destroy an innocent man’s life, this time with claims about how Dale Akiki, a disabled and disfigured man who volunteered at Faith Chapel Church, sexually molested the children in his care and somehow murdered an elephant and giraffe in front of Sunday school children, made them drink the blood, and then mysteriously disposed of the carcasses so nobody could find them.
http://www.youtube.com/v/z10cTHEif3o&hl=en_US&fs=1
Adam Lee’s documentary on the persecution of Dale Akiki

As public defender Kate Coyne revealed, the DA prosecutor in charge of the case hand-picked therapists who then proceeded to brainwash the children to get the answers the government wanted. The County of San Diego government and its agents of persecution, including Rady Children’s Hospital and many therapists, were eventually held responsible for their misconduct via a confidential settlement estimated at around $2 million.

Bakersfield Witch Hunt

Some may have taken comfort in Dale Akiki being a disfigured man who made an obvious target for false accusations. If so, they were mistaken. There have been plenty of other false prosecutions of innocent people. Some of the cases have been built up into hysterical dimensions with several people involved in a “sex ring” abusing many children. Sadly, many of these people ended up railroaded even worse than what happened to Craft, Wade, and Akiki.

Some have spent decades in prison due to overzealous government officials who insisted upon throwing people in prison at all costs, regardless of the truth. The 2008 documentary Witch Hunt tells the stories of several families in Bakersfield, California, who were cruelly railroaded for crimes that never occurred.

Among the comments of viewers on the Internet Movie Database page for Witch Hunt, this one is representative and rightly raises the point that anybody can be a victim of a child sexual abuse witch hunt:

(from IMDB User Reviews for Witch Hunt (2008))

America can only remain a free nation if the judicial process is fair, untainted, and subject to review. During the early 1980′s, it seems that the residents of Bakersfield, CA sacrificed their judicial rights for the illusion of Law And Order. WITCH HUNT is a riveting documentary about a group of citizens who became the target of a joint task force of Law Enforcement and Social Services that illegally and immorally usurped their power. The State’s position was that this police and social service unit provided an opportunity for sexually abused children to be heard, and allow the law to apprehend and punish their abusers. However, as the the film clearly demonstrates, Child And Family Services, with the aid of an overzealous police force, were able to orchestrate children’s testimony, and allowed the local government to create a non-existing threat to the community. Bakersfield became a city under siege by pedophiles-perverted by “Sexual Weapons Of Mass Destruction”. WITCH HUNT shows that these ‘dedicated and thoughtful public servants’ invented a phony threat to the community, and then rode it for all it was worth. This ‘Response To Evil’ allowed them to parade before the media and appear to be ‘Tough On Crime’, when really they did nothing but railroad innocent citizens by using Child And Family Services to badger and bully innocent children until they gave them the ‘sexual horror’ that they craved. In no way should this film be viewed as a fair and balanced treatment of child molesters, but what this documentary shows us is that Law Enforcement and Social Service Agencies are able to foster a climate of hysteria which might allow citizens to give up an unbiased legal system for the illusion of Safety. In the commentary to the film, we find that when Child and Family Service personnel were told by the children that ‘nothing happened’, the impressionable children were badgered and bullied and told that they were ‘in denial’. What is truly alarming is that, given these conditions, this gross travesty of justice could happen to any of us.

http://www.youtube.com/v/4JxKy7nC9jM?fs=1&hl=en_US
Trailer for “Witch Hunt”

Government Refuses to Learn

Governments claimed they learned from the many satanic abuse and sexual abuse frauds they pulled on the public in the 1980′s and 1990′s. But now the Tonya Craft case shows that this simply isn’t true. It is clear that anybody with a malicious ex can have his or her life ruined and children harmed because of false allegations mishandled by an abusive government that truly does not care about guilt, innocence, or protecting children.

Mother’s rights groups would do well to remember that. It’s time they dropped their sexist rhetoric and started to put the truth and well-being of children ahead of their anti-father agendas. Otherwise, it is likely there will be many more parents, including many mothers, wrongfully suffering the fate of Tonya Craft and the many other people who have been falsely accused and maliciously prosecuted to satiate the desires of others to see them ruined.

Federal Lawsuit for $25 Million

After her acquittal, Tonya Craft decided she must act to hold accountable those who falsely accused her and participated in generating false evidence. She filed a $25 million lawsuit in federal court in Rome, Georgia, against the county government, the therapists, and the parents of the children who were coached to falsely accuse her. The list includes Sandra Lamb, Sherri and Dewayne Wilson, her former husband Joal Henke, his current wife Sarah, Kelli McDonald, Sgt. Tim Deal, Catoosa County, Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers, Suzi Thorne, Stacy Long, Laurie Evans, the Childrens Advocacy Center of the Lookout Mountain Judicial District, and the Greenhouse Childrens Advocacy Center. The judge and prosecutors wrongfully enjoy immunity for their alleged violations of legal standards and the law, so they cannot be named in the lawsuit.

Further Reading

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Eric Moelter Speaks Against Cindy Dumas Distortion Campaign

Gender Polarization Impedes Family Law Reform

Parental Alienation Can Happen to Adults and In Marriages

Defending Against False Child Sexual Abuse Allegations (Part 1)

How to Win Custody by Framing Your Ex for Child Sexual Abuse

The Gregory Mantell Show: Parental Alienation Syndrome

Nassau County judge jails mother who falsely accused ex of sex abuse and alienated him from kids

A New Wave of Prosecutorial Hysteria: The Railroading of Tonya Craft

Truth for Tonya

The Tonya Craft Case: The Mask Slips Off

Live from the Catoosa County Courthouse: Tonya Craft trial, day 20: Defense rests

Tonya Craft Trial Verdict: Will Tonya Craft be Innocent or Guilty? Or will the jury be hung — a McMartin Preschool Trial 2.0?

Tonya Craft strikes custody deal, judge keeps under seal

Who Is Joal Henke?

A Open Letter to Joal Henke, Ex-Husband of Tonya Craft, Regarding the Custody of Their Children

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part I

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part II

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part III

Tonya Craft Prosecution Evokes Shadows of Other Dubious Child Abuse Cases

CA Woman to Do Time for For False Accusations

The Lohstroh Case: Articles published from August 27 to November 2004

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onya Craft’s Ex, Parental Alienator Joal Henke, Shows Kids Will Lie About Sexual Abuse To Hurt Target Parent | angiEmedia.

US Congress close to a vote on H. Res. 1326, condemning Japan for Parental Child Abduction

In Activism, Best Interest of the Child, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Liberty, Marriage, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorder, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parents rights on September 28, 2010 at 6:29 pm

US Congress close to a vote on H. Res. 1326, condemning Japan for Parental Child Abduction

Bring Abducted Children Home began a 3 day push to bring a vote on House Resolution 1326, to the House floor before Congress recesses for further campaigning on October 1, 2010. H. Res. 1326 condemns Japan for allowing parents to kidnap children.
Log (Press Release)Sep 24, 2010 – WASHINGTON – Several Left-Behind Parents of Bring Abducted Children Home (BACHome), began a 3 day push to bring a vote on House Resolution 1326 to the House floor before Congress recesses for further campaigning on October 1, 2010.

H. Res. 1326 condemns Japan over its blatant disregard for human rights in the matter of parnatally abducted children.  Since 1994, three-hundred United States citizens have been abducted to Japan from the United States.  Japan has sanctioned the abductions and refused to recognize United States sovereignty over the abducted children.

Douglas Berg, a left behind parent stated, “Passing this Resolution is just one of many steps needed to put pressure on Japan to take this issue seriously. We will not give up since we are our kids”.

The United States is not alone in attempting to prevent this crime of the innocents.  Earlier this year, the United States Ambassador to Japan, along with the Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of Australia and ambassadors from Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom called upon Justice Minister Chiba, to address their concerns over the blatant disregard of children abducted from their countries to Japan illegally.

As of this date, 80 countries and all of the G7 nations, except Japan, are signers to The 1980 Hague Convention, on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague Convention was created to protect children specifically from this type of crime and injustice.

However, Japan has sanctioned and turned a blind eye to the abduction of American born and raised children. The Constitutional rights, human rights and dignity of these illegally abducted children have been stripped away by Japan.

Randy Collins, a Left-Behind Parent from California stated, “It is time for Congress to hold Japan accountable. H. Res. 1326 is the first step towards publicly putting Japan on notice that we have had enough and demand our American children be returned”.

Congressional representatives James Moran (D-VA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), have rallied under the flag of bi-partisan support to see H. Res. 1326 come to full House vote.

Twenty-five co-sponsors are needed to move H. Res. 1326 to a full vote on the floor of the House, ten of which must come from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Thirty-three co-sponsors have been secured to support this landmark Resolution.

BACHome members spent the past four months working to secure approximately twenty-nine of the thirty-five co-sponsors needed to have H. Res. 1326 scheduled into the 2010 Congress calendar.

This Resolution has clear bipartisan support. Eighteen Republicans and seventeen Democrats have co-sponsored the Resolution. Of those needed in Foreign affairs, there are five Republicans and seven Democrats co-sponsoring H. Res. 1326.

Lending support, Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for the Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), was in attendance for the May 5, 2010, introduction of H. Res 1326.

With only 2 weeks left before Congress shuts down in preparation for the mid-term elections, BACHome hopes H. Res. 1326 will have a full House vote before October 1, 2010.

At the moment, thirty-five Congressional representatives and BACHome wait for US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Howard Berman (D-CA), to place H. Res. 1326 on the calendar for a House full vote.

Captain William Lake, another left-behind parent of an abducted child stated, “The Department of State can no longer coop the citizenship of these American children. They must demand and not ask for the return of these young precious American citizens”.

Ken Connelly, former domestically abducted child and child rights advocate stated, “Parental child abduction should never be a plausible excuse between nation states; at the price of our children’s physical and mental well being”.

If H. Res. 1326 does not come to vote before October 1, 2010, it will be forced to move into the next 2011 Congress and it could take months to start the process again”.

Ken Connelly
BACHome
PO Box 16254
Arlington, VA
22215


# # #

BACHome (Bring Abducted Children Home) is an organization set up to bring awareness to Internationally abducted children, assist in the recovery of children abducted internationally, and end parental alienation.

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US Congress close to a vote on H. Res. 1326, condemning Japan for Parental Child Abduction.

Parental Alienation Syndrome: A New Face of Terrorism – Associated Content – associatedcontent.com

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on September 14, 2010 at 10:07 pm

How to Tell when Your Child’s Hostility is More Than Divorce Blues

It’s been said there are two sides to every story and somewhere in between lies the truth. Nowhere is this more personified than within the walls of family court. Divorce is rarely amicable. There are instances, however, when routine divorce squabbles spill over into something far more sinister. When one party finds divorce to be synonymous with destruction, no one pays a higher price than the children caught in the crossfire. Regardless of how parents feel about each other, it’s imperative they be adult enough to realize the damage they could inflict upon their children. The fallout of divorce rains heavily upon children of all ages including adults. Divorce is hardly a surprise, but what some parents are doing to their children is alarming.

Mind games and propaganda have long been a staple during war. It’s used to extract information or convince the other side to join ours. Dictators use it to prevent those in their country from learning the truth and making informed decisions. It’s a manipulative and controlling way to make certain the one in charge stays in charge. Weapons of mass destruction or no, it’s the reason we invaded Iraq. And it’s what divorce parents often subject their children to on a regular basis.

In the ’80’s Dr. Richard A. Gardner uncovered a disturbing phenomena among children of divorce. Over an extended period of time, a child subjected to continual, groundless negativity regarding a parent will eventually succumb to the exposure and adapt the distorted view presented to them. In other words, a mother with custody of her children can systematically set about destroying the child’s father so completely that the father-child bond is shredded beyond repair. What the mother doesn’t understand is that it is the child who pays the heftiest price.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a mental health condition that has been fingered as the root cause of false abuse allegations and in it’s most extreme condition, murder. To some degree PAS takes place in the early stages of divorce when emotions are still raw, but fades away as emotional wounds heal. There are cases in which parents aren’t aware of what they’re doing and once it’s made clear to them they cease. The greater majority involves malicious intent. Twenty-two states have ruled in PAS cases. What began as an anger fueled attempt on the mother’s part to sever the father-child bond, ends with the mother losing complete custody.

In most cases it is the mother that begins the hate campaign against the father. For the sake of clarity the following list of symptoms assumes the mother to be in that role:

1.Under the guise of trust, care and honesty, the mother chronicles divorce details from a slanted point of view that paints dad as mean and mom as a victim.

2.Refuses to help the child transition to time with the dad by not allowing the child to take toys or other favored items with them and by repeatedly telling the child daddy’s house is not their home but merely a place to visit.

3.Unwilling to be flexible with the visitation schedule.

4.Overbooking the child in activities in order to reduce visitation time. When the dad wants the child to spend time with him rather than be in constant motion, the mother will label the dad as selfish and her as the good parent because she doesn’t restrict the activity time.

5.Denying the father access to medical and/or school records and other important documents.

6.Listening in on the child’s phone conversation and/or coaching them on what to say.

7.Draws the child into a co-dependant relationship by making him/her feel guilty for having fun with dad. She uses minor illnesses as an escape toprevent visitation, proclaiming herself to be the only one capable of caring for the child.

8.Telling the child how sad she is during visitation times, making the child feel guilty for having fun with dad.

Divorce may bring out the PAS behavior but it is not the root cause. PAS is a psychological disturbance that requires the intervention of a mental health professional. Understanding the psychosis of the behavior is paramount in helping you and your child. Don’t labor under the misconception that the alienating parent can stop the destructive behavior at any point. It’s a behavior the perpetrator is oblivious to and unable to stop even if realization dawns.

The PAS parent not only wants but must have control over their child. They are incapable of forming normal healthy relationships with people in their lives. They are severely self-centered, unable to give, only take and lack compassion for others. They’ve lost the ability to sort truth from fiction. They are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to have their way even if it means destroying an essential relationship for their child.

If you believe you are the victim of PAS you need to seek help immediately. The only salvation for a child under the rule of PAS is counseling by a therapist familiar with the mental dysfunction of PAS. Children need a trained third-party individual to help them cope with the continual strife and anxiety present in their daily lives.

The single most important thing you can do for your child is refuse to give up, love them even when they’re unlovable and don’t be party to your own alienation by applying the turn-about-is-fair-play nonsense. For the sake of your child you must rise above the psychotic behavior of your ex-spouse. Many times that means coping with hurtful words and actions from the child you’re trying to protect. Don’t miss appointed visitation dates. Refuse to allow yourself to be coerced by well-meaning friends and relatives into a situation that is not beneficial for your child. In order to keep your sanity you must keep your eye on the future. What you’re doing right now may appear to have no impact but it could be a pivotal moment ten years from now. The hardest part is letting go of the right now in belief that in years to come you’ll reap higher dividends

Parental Alienation Syndrome: A New Face of Terrorism – Associated Content – associatedcontent.com.

Brazilian President signs into Law which Defines and Punishes Parental Alienation – Crumbs: Hot – 27/8/2010

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on August 31, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Following the Sean Goldman case in Brazil, the Brazilian President, just signed into law, which defines and punishes acts of Parental Alienation in Brazil. I sometimes wonder if our President and Vice President are paying attention to the problems of parents and children in this country? Particularly with regard to the 4-6 million children that are alienated from the other parent?

Law 12 318

Sacionada law that defines and punishes parental alienation

See below for the full law 12.318/10 which provides for parental alienation.

_____________

Law No. 12 318, DE 26 AUGUST 2010

Provides for parental alienation and amending Art. 236 of Law No. 8069 of July 13, 1990.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC

I know that the Congress decrees and I sanction the following Law:

Article 1 This Law provides for parental alienation.

Section 2 is considered an act of parental alienation interference with psychological training of the child or adolescent promoted or induced by a parent, grandparent or by having the child or adolescent under his authority, custody or supervision so dismissive parent or adversely affecting the establishment or maintenance of ties with it.

Sole Paragraph. Exemplary are forms of parental alienation, and acts as declared by the judge or discovered by expertise, or charged directly with the aid of third parties:

I – opening campaign of disqualification of the parent’s conduct in the exercise of parenthood;

II – hinder the exercise of parental authority;

III – hinder contact with child or teen parent;

IV – to hamper the right of regulated family life;

V – the parent deliberately omit relevant personal information about the child or adolescent, including educational, medical and changes of address;

VI – to present false complaint against parent, family against this or against grandparents, to obstruct or hinder their coping with the child or adolescent;

VII – change the address to the remote site, without justification, in order to hamper the coexistence of the child or adolescent with the other parent, with this family or grandparents.

Article 3 The performance of an act of parental alienation hurts fundamental right of the child or adolescent family life healthier, prevent the implementation of affection in relationships with parent and the family group, is moral abuse against the child or adolescent and noncompliance with duties attached to parental authority or from guardianship or custody.

Article 4 Declared clue act of parental alienation, the application or letter at any time of procedure, or incidentally in autonomous action, the process will have priority processing, and the judge will determine, with urgency, after hearing the prosecutor, the interim measures for maintenance of psychological integrity of the child or adolescent, including to ensure their familiarity with parent or make an effective rapprochement between the two, if any.

Sole Paragraph. It will ensure the child or adolescent and the parent assisted minimum guarantee of visitation, except in cases where there is imminent risk of injury to physical or psychological integrity of the child or adolescent, certified by any professional designated by the judge for monitoring visits .

Article 5 If there is evidence of the practice act of parental alienation in autonomous action or incidental damages, the judge, if necessary, determine biopsychosocial or psychological expertise.

§ 1 The expert report will be based on extensive psychological evaluation or biopsychosocial, as appropriate, including even a personal interview with the parties, examination of documents in the file, the couple’s relationship history, split chronology of incidents, personality assessment involved and the investigation of how the child or adolescent is manifested about possible charges against the parents.

§ 2 The skill will be performed by professional or skilled multidisciplinary team, required in any case, proven by fitness professional or academic history to diagnose acts of parental alienation.

§ 3 The expert or a multidisciplinary team appointed to assess the occurrence of parental alienation will within 90 (ninety) days to submit the report, renewable only by judicial authorization based on detailed justification.

Article 6 Featured typical acts of parental alienation or any conduct that hamper the coexistence of child or adolescent parent, or incidental to autonomous action, the judge may, together or separately, subject to civil or criminal liability arising from and the extensive use of suitable legal instruments to inhibit or mitigate its effects, according to the severity of the case:

I – declare the occurrence of parental alienation and warn the seller;

II – expand the system of family life in favor of the alienated parent;

III – provide fine to seller;

IV – require counseling and / or biopsychosocial;

V – to determine the change of custody to joint custody or its reversal;

VI – to determine the setting of interim home of the child or adolescent;

VII – to declare the suspension of parental authority.

Sole Paragraph. Marked change of address abusive, impracticability or obstruction to family, the court may also reverse the obligation to take or remove the child or teen parent’s residence, during the alternating periods of family life.

Article 7 The allocation or change of custody will be given preference by the parent that enables the effective coexistence of the child or adolescent with the other parent in cases where it is impracticable to custody.

Article 8 The change of domicile of the child or adolescent is irrelevant to the determination of competence related to actions founded on right to family life, unless the result of consensus between the parents or a court decision.

Article 9 (VETOED)

Article 10. (VETOED)

Article 11. This Law shall enter into force upon its publication.

Brasília, August 26, 2010, 189 and 122 of the Independence of the Republic.

Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA

Luiz Paulo Teles Ferreira Barreto

Paulo de Tarso Vannuchi

________________
____________

Read more – News

  • 11/20/2009 – House Passes CCJ’s action against a parent who incite hatred child – click here.
  • 08.18.2009 – Parental Alienation can lead to loss of custody of the child – click here.

Read More – Articles

  • 13/8/10 – The “syndrome” that will turn law – Nebo Flávia Azevedo Antunes – click here.
  • 23/7/10 – SAP – Parental Alienation Syndrome – Luiz Fernando Valley Guilherme de Almeida / André Fernando Reusing Namorato – click here.
  • 21/7/10 – In brief, parental alienation is a crime – Denise Perissini Maria da Silvaclick here.

Sanctioned law that defines and punishes parental alienation – Crumbs: Hot – 27/8/2010.

She defied the law to find her mother – Telegraph

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on August 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Winona Varney was reunited with her mother through Facebook, writes Christopher Booker.

Winona Varney was reunited with her family through Facebook

Winona Varney was reunited with her family through Facebook

For once, after all the shocking stories I have reported on the secretive system that allows social workers to seize children from loving parents for no good reason, to send them for adoption, I can at last report a story where a family torn apart for nine years has been reunited.

When Winona Varney, now a pretty 16-year-old, recently fell into the arms of her mother Tracey at Truro railway station, they had not seen each other since she was seven. During that time, she and her 12-year-old sister Daniella have been living unhappily with an adoptive family, who repeatedly told them that their mother was a bad woman who did not love or want them. But when, in June, Winona managed to track her mother down, via Facebook, a short time later the two girls and their mother were again living under the same roof.

This harrowing story began back in 1997, when social workers from Cornwall county council received a wholly erroneous tip-off that there might be drugs in the house where Tracey lived with her partner. The day after the birth of their first child, a boy, they were made to sign an agreement that they would “work with social services”. Tracey then had two daughters, Winona and Daniella; but their father, who had been in care himself, had a strong aversion to social workers and eventually threatened one with violence.

On the social workers’ insistence, in order to keep her children, Tracey left her partner. She and they were sent to a mother and child unit in Staffordshire, where she often had to protect them from abuse by other inmates. Eventually, though there was no evidence that Tracey had harmed them in any way, the girls were sent for adoption, on the grounds that they were “at risk of emotional abuse”. They were taken in by a couple in a nearby Cornish village, and Winona was given a new name. (Their brother, however, was returned to his mother, after a year in foster care.)

Year after year, unaware of her daughters’ whereabouts, Tracey sent loving birthday and Christmas cards to them. But this could only be done through social services – who never passed them on. According to Winona, she and her sister were constantly told both by social workers and their adoptive parents that their mother was “a horrible person” who didn’t love them.

Tracey eventually found a new partner with whom she had two more daughters. In June this year, Winona managed to track down her mother through Facebook, and they arranged to meet at Truro station. They couldn’t believe their happiness at being reunited and more secret meetings followed.

When Daniella was told what was going on, she was initially wary, because of the lies she had been told about her mother. But twice the girls escaped at night through windows for further meetings, until eventually Winona rang the adoptive parents to say they were both going back to live with their mother.

Winona is so angry about what has been done to them that she has opened a page on Facebook entitled “Anti-Social Services Forced Adoption – We Can Help!”, to join up with other children in the same plight. She pays tribute to the advice she was given by Ian Josephs, the businessman living in the South of France who, through his Forced Adoption website, has helped hundreds of families who have fallen into the clutches of this corrupt and secretive system.

Not dissimilar was the case of Tammy Coulter, taken away from her mother by Derbyshire social workers when she was only seven months old, after an accident left her with a bruised cheek. After time in foster care, she was put out for adoption by a judge who said that, thanks to delays by the social workers, she and her mother would by now be strangers. Only after 17 years did she find her mother again through the website Genes Reunited, and was able to return happily to her birth family.

In 2006, Tammy told a London audience, which included judges, lawyers and Harriet Harman MP: “Finding out you’ve been adopted is one of the worst feelings in the world, because you feel that all of your identity, everything you’ve known about yourself, is a lie.” She said she was speaking out “on behalf of children and parents who have also been through the secrecy of family courts and the injustices that have taken place, and the devastation of one decision that determines the future of a child”.

After nine years of misery, Winona Varney would agree. She says that after going to college, she wants to get involved in child care – “but certainly not as a social worker, because I have seen what they can do”.

Parental Alienation Syndrome:A ‘Hidden’ Facet of Custody Disputes by L. Cook

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on August 15, 2010 at 1:06 am

Parental Alienation Syndrome:
A ‘Hidden’ Facet of Custody Disputes

by Lisa Cook

Name: Lisa Cook
S.I.N.: 94111036
Date: April 5, 1995
Course: Children & the Law
Professor: Judge Williams

…extending through the years of childhood and adolescence in his [or her] relations with both parents, [a child] builds up working models of how attachment figures are likely to behave towards him in any variety of situations; and on those models are based all his expectations, and therefore all his plans, for the rest of his life.

John Bowlby, Separation, Anxiety, and Anger

Introduction

Custody determinations are not simple. In fact, there are often complications which are not readily discernible to judges, lawyers, counsellors, or even the parents and children. Such a “complication” occurs when a divorcing parent or parents attempt to brainwash or program their children during a custody dispute. This issue has not been given frank or frequent treatment in either law or psychiatry. However, it has the potential to be the most destructive aspect in custody disputes.

It is apparent, from the limited studies that have been done, that mothers are usually the source of the brainwashing.1 Does this mean that there is a distinct gender differential at play? Two alternate and opposing explanations are available: women simply obtain custody with a greater prevalence this gives the mother the time and physical nexus necessary for successful brainwashing2; or out of a fear of losing sole custody due to the trends of joint custody and reverse discrimination in Family Law, mothers resort to brainwashing tactics.3

Both explanations, however, stem from a common basis: women are generally perceived as the “losers” in a divorce unless they get custody of the children.

Thus, the main catalyst for brainwashing is a combination of fear and loss – because a parent is alienated from the life they knew, they become alienating.4 Consequently, a father can brainwash his children just as easily as a mother provided he finds himself in a vulnerable position.5 The result is that the alienating parent becomes so self-oriented that he consciously or unconsciously detaches himself from the true dynamics of the situation. Tables 1, 2, 3, 5, & 6, in the appendix indicate that parents who brainwash tend to have the following characteristics: Upper-middle class with 2.5 children living in suburbia working in a professional occupation with a fairly high education level. From this one could conclude that brainwashing requires intelligence and skill. However, it may be that parents in a higher social class perceive their children as being another possession they could lose in the divorce. On a related note, they may be trying to keep up appearances as the “perfect” parent – having custody is an important part of this “role.” But one must not make generalizations.

Lower class, less educated parents do brainwash their children – though less frequently. Whether this is a product of social class or intelligence is uncertain. Perhaps the difference is in the brainwashing techniques – lower class parents may not brainwash with the same kind of formality and structure as the upper class, educated parents. Their techniques may not correspond with Clawar’s techniques. This could skew the data. While there is no final explanation for the data, they indicate that brainwashing is not a rare phenomenon. It has also been found that spouses who have a history of physically, socially-psychologically abusing their partner employ brainwashing simply as a new tool of abuse.7 Spousal abuse does not seem to have any social class boundaries. Thus, it is virtually impossible to determine a “brainwasher” profile. The fact is that any divorcing parent involved in a custody dispute – if sufficiently alienated from their own world – could have the potential to become alienating.

Theories

There are multiple theories accounting for brainwashing during custody. However, whether any, all, or a combination of these theories apply to a particular family will depend, to a large extent, on: (1) the distinct personalities of the child and parent and (2) situational factors.8

Parents may brainwash as a result of the typical animosity associated with any custody dispute – as a reaction to situational conflict. However, more sophisticated theories have been devised to explain the phenomenon. Alignment is one such theory.9 It is akin to the recently coined terms Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S.) and the S.A.I.D. (He said, She said, Who said?) syndrome – both of which are similarly defined and had their origins in the United States.10 P.A.S. (or S.A.I.D.) is defined as

…a series of conscious programming techniques such as brainwashing as well as subconscious and unconscious processes by the alienating parent combined with the child’s own contribution denigrating the allegedly hated parent [often referred to as the lost, target, or alienated parent].11

P.A.S. manifests itself in several ways.12 The child usually gives frivolous or absurd rationalizations for deprecating the target parent. There is a loss of the ambivalence found in normal human relationships – the target parent is objectified by the alienating parent as an evil entity. In Humphries v. Humphries (1986), 59 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 1 at 3, the child had to call her natural father “the man” and her stepfather “Mr. Daddy.” Children will do what their parents tell them out of fear, to gain respite from their parent’s relentless interrogations or as the primary way to please their parents. Consequently,

P.A.S. children ‘express themselves like perfect little photocopies of the alienating parent and can see no good in the lost parent and no bad in the loved parent. The process resembles amnesia, wherein the child’s good memories appear to be completely destroyed.13

As a counterpart to this, brainwashed children feel little guilt for their actions.14 There are, however, two more serious manifestations-of P.A.S.: refusal of visitation and sexual abuse allegations.

Refusal of visitation is often so multi-determined that it is difficult to link the refusal directly with P.A.S. Johnston indicates that estimating the

…extent to which disengagement results from voluntary withdrawal of the parent or from being pushed out or excluded by the child [is onerous], because the dropping out is likely to be a subtle process of reaction and counteraction to the mutual disappointment inherent in a failed relationship.15

This emphasizes that P.A.S. is primarily a product of the pain associated with divorce. Parents and children become caught in a cycle. For instance, as the frequency of refusals to visit increase, parental disputes heighten, parents become more skeptical of the value of visitation, and the rejected parent engages in counter-rejection.16 It is this spiral effect which complicates the diagnosis of P.A.S. False sex abuse allegations against the target parent entail similar complexities.

Though the allegations may be false, they are usually “based upon a core of reality.”17 Normal physical affection or bathing a child can be construed by the alienating parent as having sexual overtones. Nonetheless, unlike refusal of visitation, there appear to be criteria which can be applied in the case of sexual allegations.18 Gardner has a seventy point criteria test [22 criteria for the accused, 21 for the child, and 27 for the accuser].19 As the number of positive indicators increase, the greater the likelihood that the allegation is valid.20 For instance,

The alleged perpetrator’s having a large collection of child pornographic materials is a very strong indicator of a true accusation. But a child may say ‘My daddy took a big knife and put it into my wee-wee hole and my poo-poo hole. There was a lot of bleeding. My mommy was there and she got very angry at my daddy and she gave him time out.’ Such a statement argues strongly for a false accusation.21

This sounds like common sense. In fact, most, of the criteria seem to be based on fairly obvious observations and differences between true and false incest victims can be found in their disclosures. Fakers tend to reveal details of the incest almost spontaneously and there are no significant changes in mood or affect. In addition, fakers often use adult terminology and make few retractions or restatements. Most telling, however, is that a true victim

…will rarely describe the sexual activity in the [abuser’s] presence, out of fear and guilt, while the faker will do this if the [alienator] is also present…[the alienator] often control[s] the child by monitoring his or her responses through eye contact and subtle facial expressions.22

Though criteria can be applied, this does not remove all complexity. P. (G.L.) v. P. (J.M.) (1990), 27 R.F.L. (3d) 64 recognized that

The person making the complaint, usually the mother, is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. If the complaint is made for the first time in the course of a custody case, there is a tendency to disbelieve the allegation. If the allegation cannot be proven, the mother is viewed as vicious and destructive. Some judges have suggested that an unwarranted allegation of sexual abuse may be grounds to deny custody. [However, this reasoning is not based on the allegations being viewed as a manifestation of P.A.S.]. On the other hand, if a mother suspects abuse, but does not report or raise the issue, she runs the risk of being branded a poor parent and being subject to C.A.S. supervision.23

An even more problematic issue is that divorcing parents might be using the fact that reporting child abuse is in vogue as an apparently easy means of attacking their ex-spouses. The irony is that though the sex abuse allegations may be false, the children are being abused by becoming the pawn in their parent’s “games.”24 What is even more frightening is that

The number of virtual allegations of abuse may be expected to increase in the future because of their more subtle nature, the greater difficulty in disproving them, and because judges and lawyers familiar with P.A.S. are becoming increasingly skilled at detecting [its more obvious manifestations such as those illustrated in Table 8A of the appendix].25

Parents also resort to various brainwashing techniques in attempts to “win” their child over so that they can win them at the custody hearing. Clawar lists several techniques which he refers to as syndromes – suggesting that these tactics have a strong psychological component. Parents often use a combination of these techniques.26 An analysis of Table 8C in the appendix suggests that these techniques are not so effective that the children being brainwashed cannot detect them. Why, then, does the brainwashing continue? The children are afraid to confront their parents – without their parents they might not have a home to live in, food to eat, or clothes to wear. The “Who Me”, Middleman, and Circumstantial syndromes were most easily detected by children – perhaps because the child is more of a direct participant in these techniques. However, for the most part, the “no” awareness percentages were relatively high – some children may be able to detect the brainwashing but this may depend on age, maturity, and past life experiences.

Clawar also indicates some of the motivational factors connected with brainwashing: revenge, jealousy and self-righteousness; fear of losing the child, one’s identity and a sense of history; attempts to maintain the marital relationship through conflict; a desire for emotional and proprietary control and dominance.27 Underlying each of these motivations is an emotional need. This is further supported by the fact that the brainwashing becomes more intense when “situational factors intervene such as changes in location, holidays, court work, or prosperity of the target parent.”28 Also, the hostility of the alienating parent never seems to be proportional to the seriousness of the alienated parent’s actions.29 Related to this idea of “emotional need” is the proposition that brainwashing could be the result of a mental disorder.

The alienating parent may have a mental disorder which is caused by the emotional turmoil of divorce or the disorder could be inherent – distinguishing between the two is difficult. However, data from the Custody Project at the University of Toronto shows that in 72 percent of the families, at least one parent was psychiatrically disturbed.30 It has also been found that the presence of a mental disorder is connected to the propagation of a false sex abuse accusation.31 Nonetheless, there are no straightforward answers despite apparent linkages. This is evidenced in Lapierre v. Lapierre (1991), 34 R.F.L. 129 at 145:

I do not know if this action on her part was the act of a person filled with hatred, or if it was an act of gross bad judgment, or if this evidence was the evidence of-a mentally ill person…

There is also the added confusion of whether pre-divorce influences on children can be separated from the impact of brainwashing:

There are now a number of studies which show that long before parents separate, there are differences in the behaviour of their children as compared with those in other marriages where a divorce does not take place.32

These studies are prospective – before it is known there will be a divorce – so they are not biased by hindsight. Children with a deceased parent do not seem to be as adversely affected as those with separated or divorced parents. But there is variation among individual children.33 Thus, no definitive conclusions can be drawn although the effects on children – of either the brainwashing or the divorce or separation itself – are definite. P.A.S. children exhibit the same kinds of symptoms as abused children – depression, acting-out behaviours, fear of social situations. Basically, they are maladjusted.

There seems to be an overlap between several of these theories. For instance, minus a pre-existing mental disorder, can all of the “theories” be partially explained as being a reaction to the legal process?

There is ample reason to believe that much of the anger and disarray that accompany divorces are not so much a product of grief over the failed relationship as they are the result of what spouses perceive the other doing as part of the legal process.34

Since the legal process is both adversarial and often procedurally convoluted, there are several detrimental reactions which parties to a divorce may experience. The justice system is often wrongly idealized:

Children often invest hope in the judicial process; they fantasize that the judge can put a stop to the brainwashing.35

Clients [parents] become ever more dependent on the judgments made by their lawyers and less able to take initiative on their own.36

This relates to the decision-oriented nature of the legal process – even in custody disputes there is an implicit attempt to distinguish guilt from innocence.37 As a result, the positions of the parties harden to the point where the truth becomes no more than a paradigm for courtroom success. But what about the fact that between 97 to 99 percent of all divorces are settled prior to trial.38 Does this not obviate some of the negativity associated with the adversarial process?

Part of the routine is the use of the impending trial to generate anxiety in the clients that causes them to make the concessions necessary to compromise and settle the case.39

This suggests that even if a case is settled, it is generally a forced settlement – out of fear that a trial would be “unsuccessful.” But what is success? According to Margulies, a successful divorce is one in which “all farnily members are thriving five years after the divorce.”40 However, this definition is not obvious to most lawyers or clients – they want immediate success. Due to this mind-set, it is not surprising that parents resort to brainwashing – it becomes just another “legal” tactic.

Legal Implications

Gardner believes that the more recent judicial preference for joint custody has contributed to P.A.S.’s prevalence: the alienating parent fears either that shared parenting will be too difficult or that joint custody will keep past conflicts alive. The latter point is paradoxical since brainwashing – as a solution to parental fear – does not prevent conflicts, it merely produces new ones. Nevertheless, the answer is not to return to a sole custody system – children need both parents – but for the court to recognize P.A.S. Other than in Quebec, the Canadian legal system has not explicitly recognized an identifiable syndrome such as P.A.S. An article in the Montreal Gazette (November 30, 1992) entitled “Dirty Tricks penalized in Custody Battles: Courts frown on parents who turn kids against spouses” indicates how the legal system in Quebec is aware of the severe implications of P.A.S. for children. In R..M. v. B. R.. [Unreported, 1994] Quebec C.A., the court made three important pronouncements regarding P.A.S.: (1) P.A.S. is neither purely objective and scientific nor purely legal; (2) the court must examine the parent’s conduct in the context of the child’s interest; and (3) expert evidence on P.A.S. should be given extensive weight. It is also significant that most of the Quebec P.A.S. cases went to the Court of Appeal.41 This emphasizes the initial “doubt” surrounding the validity of P.A.S. Nonetheless, the penalty imposed upon alienating parents has been severe – loss of custody. It seems as though Quebec children’s-rights advocates have been the main source of getting P.A.S. recognized in As well, in Sherbrooke, Quebec there is a group called PAIN – Parental Alienation Information Network. The ACAB group in St. John’s, Newfoundland seems to be following this model, though on a lesser scale.

Nonetheless, there have been some advances in the Common Law provinces. In Rutherford v. Rutherford (1986), 4 R.F.L. (3d) at 459 the court did show insight into the rationale underlying P.A.S.:

The process [of brainwashing] may be so subtle and so slow that it escapes notice until too late…I hope the parties will take a step back and examine their own actions and motives rather than simply the actions and motives they perceive in the other…

Other courts have taken different attitudes. Some courts have simply labelled a parent’s brainwashing behaviour as peculiar. “This foolish man did so much in such a diabolical fashion that it all becomes almost unbelievable.”42 Other courts seem to be making excuses for a parent’s behaviour: “…neither party is without imperfections.”43 In Humphries v. Humphries (1986), 59 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 1 at 6 there was a sense of flitility:

I cannot by order change Mrs. H.’s attitude nor has time. I cannot by order prevent her from communicating in many indirect ways the negative feeling she has about Mr. Humphries to her daughter. I conclude that I must sacrifice Rhiannon’s long term gain from access to her father to her current emotional health.

Instead, the judge is sacrificing Rhiannon to the mental tortures imposed by Mrs. H.’s brainwashing. Lapierre v. Lapierre (1991), 34 R.F.L. 129 at 156 similarly held: “I am not here to solve the problems of P., however caused. I am here to stand as parens patriae to the children.” Though it is positive that the court emphasized the child’s interests, the child’s interests will not be adequately addressed as long as the court fails to address P.A.S.

At times, the courts appear to be so innovative that the real issue — the brainwashing — is either ignored or treated as a secondary problem which will somehow resolve itself:

…there will be less reason for conflict between their parents [if decisions regarding visitations are left to the children]. A great deal of the trouble in the past has been caused by the rigid timetable…I have more confidence in them to behave reasonably than I have in their parents…44

Similarly, the courts turn away from P.A.S. for it does not seem to fit conveniently into a legal framework:

While there is no denying that courts have a difficult job at best, on balance it would appear that the prevailing tendency has been toward delaying judgment in the hope that the problem will go away, solve itself, or at the very least prove that no judgment is preferable to a wrong judgment.45

But the role of the court in cases of P.A.S. must go beyond simply determining who gets custody and when P.A.S. must be given direct consideration. Judges must not only specifically refer to it in their decisions – P.A.S. should be the basis for a major portion of their ratio:

…the precedent of clear, forceful judgment may deter some parents from beginning the alienation of their children.46

If parents who engage in P.A.S. know that aware judges may give custody to the innocent parent, and perhaps even apply sanctions against parents who use a child to prevent the other parent’s access to the child, the P.A.S., which is itself a form of child abuse, may suffer a fatal and well-deserved setback.47

Currently, however, this is not the trend. In fact, the judge in Humphries v. Humphries (1986), 59 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 1 at 5 would not order access “merely to ensure that intransigent behaviour in other parents is discouraged.” It is not surprising that deterrence is not a priority given that the seriousness of P.A.S. has not been judicially recognized.

In the United States, the courts are taking more steps towards acknowledging P.A.S.48 In Laurel Schutz v. Richard Schutz (1985), Judge Feder used strong, though somewhat metaphorical, language regarding P.A.S.:

The court has no doubt that the cause of the blind, brainwashed, bigoted, belligerence of the children toward the father grew from the soil nurtured, watered and tilled by the mother. The court is thoroughly convinced that the mother breached every duty she owed as the custodial parent to the non-custodial parent of instilling love, respect and feeling in the children for their father. Worse, she slowly dripped poison into the minds of these children, maybe even beyond the power of this court to find the antidote.49

Judge Feder’s emphasis on a parent’s “duty” is significant. From this perspective, P.A.S. is not just misbehaviour – it is the breach of a legal duty. By placing P.A.S. in a legal context, the American courts appear to have generated some sort of respect for P.A.S.

This is only a first step, however – the legal system must interface with the field of psychiatry and related fields so that conflicting assumptions and practices can be reconciled. Otherwise, the ratio of the dissent in Schutz or the Canadian ambivalence will continue to prevail:

Judge Hendry’s opinion [dissent in Schutz] was that the trial court’s order went beyond the mother’s legal duty to encourage legal visitation by requiring her to express opinions she does not hold and thus infringing on her rights of free speech.50

It is paradoxical that the court speaks of a violation of the parent’s rights when the child’s rights are being equally affected. This kind of judgment makes P.A.S. seem like a figment of the imagination. The judge appears to be condoning brainwashing by framing it as a “right of free speech.” Though this is an extreme example of judicial ignorance, it is not far from the more common judicial mistakes regarding P.A.S. In fact, reducing P.A.S. to pure legality – as in the majority in Schutz – is not ideal. The focus must not be on pure legality.

In general, the legal system appears to de-emphasize the distinction between physical access and social-psychological access – permission to love and identify with the other parent. Even when the court does highlight this distinction, it does not place it directly in the context of P.A.S. For instance, in Smith v. Smith (1991), 34 R.F.L. 367 at 369 the court referred to the “psychological safety of the children” and that the parents “manipulated the children to the point where they constantly live on an emotional roller-coaster.” Once again, the court uses metaphors instead of applying P.A.S.

Any argument that the law is normative should not dissuade proponents of P.A.S.:

…’normative’ in law seems to mean very little other than a specific preference, often in turn based on individualistic value judgments.51

Essentially, judicial interpretation of the law seems to be given priority over judicial interpretation of the facts in conjunction with informational authority on P.A.S. from the social sciences. Consequently, the court seems to be hiding from the evidentiary problems associated with P.A.S. cases.

Evidentiary Dilemmas

Evidentiary issues relating to custody disputes become even more intricate when P.A.S. enters the scene. Interviews with children may reveal verbal compliance but it must be t’evaluated against a behavioral context and with a full understanding of the development of the child’s assertions.”52 Brainwashed children tend to mimic what the alienating parent has told them. Even if a parent is not detected as being responsible for the child’s attitudes, parents often engage surrogate programrners as a means to avoid detection – usually members of the extended family, a new spouse or new in-laws.53 In addition, detection itself is not an elementary task. This can be illustrated by specific examples of statements made by brainwashed children accompanied by a detection commentary. It should be noted that there is a great deal of overlap between the various commentaries and that any differences are the product of subtle psychological analysis.54 Table 7 in the appendix indicates that the methods most capable of detection involved either subtle linguistic or factual turns – contradictory statements, inappropriate or unnecessary information, use of indirect statements – or highly emotional, personalized tactics – character assault, restrictions on permission to be loved, good parent/bad parent, comparative martyr role, anxiety arousal. Thus, in this context, knowledge and love are no longer parental virtues – they are distorted into brainwashing mechanisms.

Thus, detection is not a matter that can be left solely to a judge or lawyer. In fact, sometimes lawyers act in a collusive nature – whether knowingly or unknowingly: (1) to unscrupulously extend the litigation and their profits rather than resolve the conflict and P.A.S. or (2) due to their ignorance of P.A.S., they misinterpret the evidence and their client’s motivations. As well, children often act in a collusive nature as a consequence of being brainwashed:

Children suffering with P.A.S. may present the judge with a convincing picture.. these children have a way of ‘snow balling’ even experienced psychologists and psychiatrists.55

Parents who brainwash also tend to do quite well on the witness stand – they have learned how to manipulate others and colour their behaviours in socially acceptable ways. Another related evidentiary complication pertains to the child’s experiences with previous interviewers:

The greater the number of previous interviews, the greater the likelihood the child’s description will become routinized and will resemble the litany typically provided in early interviews by the child…56

[In Thatcher v. Thatcher (1980), 16 R.F.L. (2d) 263 at 273, there was evidence] that Regan, already having been seen by four psychiatrists, had become quite experienced and sophisticated in these interviews.

In addition, suggestibility during the interviewing process must be accounted for. It may be difficult to distinguish this suggestibility from the alienating parent’s suggestions.

Another detection hurdle is that many alienating parents use a potpourri of techniques to brainwash which do not fall within any identifiable theory. Evidence of this comes from the interviews with ACAB members. One alienating parent used repetition of a single phrase “Daddy wouldn’t let this happen to you [the brainwashing], if he loved you.” Another parent would get the stepfather to beat up the child so that the alienated father would get mad and call the police. Once the police arrived, the alienated father was the one who was arrested for disturbing the peace – putting his character into jeopardy for any future assessments. Another alienating parent tried to get the alienated parent to sign a t’contract’t – with no.lawyer involvement – wherein the alienating parent would ask for no child support or maintenance if the alienated parent would never have anything to do with the child. It is clear that these techniques would not be easily recognized unless the family was under surveillance almost twenty-four hours a day.

There are possible methods to overcome these evidentiary twists. If kept on the witness stand for an extra long period of time, the alienating parent may eventually make inconsistent statements which will reveal their true actions and ultimate goals.57 Similarly, special cross-examination or interviewing techniques may be used. For instance, Gardner has provided a series of explicit questions for judges to use when dealing with children.58 Whether such direct questions will produce genuine answers may depend on the degree of brainwashing present. A more effective method may be the use of corroborating evidence:

[If the parent is] aware that the evaluator would have other sources of information regarding the child – from the other parent, from clinical interviews with the children, and from outside agencies, such as schools, pediatricians, and protective services – [this may limit] an inclination to distort.59

However, the effectiveness of this method may depend on the strength of the alienating parent’s conviction. But in Radford v. Cassiano, [Unreported, 1995] Ont.C.J. – Prov. Div., the presence of a psychological assessment resulted in the alienating parent withdrawing her claim to terminate access after the third day of trial.

Specific methods have been illustrated in various cases. In W. (K.M.) v. W. (D.D.), [Unreported, 1993] Ont. C.J. – Prov. Div., the court included questions of an adverse nature and avoided asking leading questions.60 Lawyers must be careful not to use strong language without having any real foundation for it – without making any reference to P.A.S. This happened in R.. v. R..W. [Unreported, 1993] Ont. C.J. – Gen. Div., wherein the judge stated:

The defence is inviting this court to believe that for four days Mrs. W. would have drilled these lies into the child’s mind.

If counsel had explained that P.A.S. involves brainwashing that extends beyond four days, perhaps the judge would not have misconstrued counsel’s attempt at portraying the truth as an attempt to attack the other party’s character or credibility. Lacaille v. Manger, [Unreported, 1994] Ont. C.J. – Prov. Div., stresses that the court must make allowances for the fact that children:

…do not necessarily see the world as adults do…a flaw, such as a contradiction, in a child’s testimony should not be given the same effect as a similar flaw in the testimony of an adult.

This makes detecting P.A.S. even less straightforward – is the flaw an indicator of P.A.S. or merely the “slip’ of a child probably on the witness stand for the first time?

Two other “methods” are based on the personal interests of children and their parents, respectively. Eighty percent of brainwashed children want the process detected and terminated; 70 percent felt relief when it was discovered. Consequently, 90 percent of these children cooperate in investigations either covertly or overtly. Some children even use secret language to inform others: “Once she starts talking about my dad, she can’t seem to stop.”61 Some alienated parents have taken a more direct approach to counter P.A.S. MERGE [Movement for the Establishment of Real Gender Equality] suggests codifying the amount of access to which a father is entitled.62 In this way, P.A.S. would not interfere with a father’s natural right to have contact with his children. Feminist movements have volleyed for a similar right for alienated mothers.

Given the psychological elements of P.A.S., expert evidence is quite essential to its accurate detection. However, such evidence creates extensive controversy. While the court does encourage the admission of all relevant evidence, expert evidence regarding custody dispute issues has not been held to be definitive:

…psychologists should be clear that their job is to assist in gathering information, not to determine the result of the case…clarification of roles is important…experts should not offer social and moral judgments in the guise of scientific solutions.63

In R.. v. R.. W., [Unreported, 1993] Ont. C.J. – Gen. Div., the trial judge simply rejected the defence’s theory that the allegations of sexual abuse were contrived “without relating his findings to the evidence.” To make matters worse, he placed the onus upon the alienated parent to satisfy the court that the other parent brainwashed the child to believe that the alienated parent was guilty of sexual abuse. However, Lapierre v. Lapierre (1991), 34 R.F.L. 129 at 138 basically held that expert evidence has validity provided it does not overstep its function:

[Expert evidence is] to be just that, assistance. It is for the court, and the court alone, to determine the matter. Yet, were it not for those professional glimpses through wispy veils, I would have, without hesitation whatsoever, labelled P. as an out and out liar.

Nevertheless, “blind adherence to diagnostic criteria could be as damaging as ignoring these criteria.”64 For instance, psychological expertise sometimes becomes psycho-legal expertise wherein

. . .the psychologist [is] cast as the hired gun engaged to put forth to the court the negative opinion of the contesting parent under the guise of an expert.65

It is interesting that expert evidence is questioned because it might be a “guise” when, in fact, the evidence is being tendered to disclose the guise of the alienating parent. Nonetheless, there are situations where expert evidence would not advance a correct assessment of P.A.S. In W. (K.M.) v. W. (D.D.), [Unreported, 1993] Ont. C.J. – Prov. Div., the judge severely criticized a psychologist’s assessment and preferred a Children’s Aid Society worker’s opinion.66 The judge described it as a “‘blitzkrieg assessment’ conducted in 6 hours on one day.” Dr. Albin even admitted that

…he was selective in the information contained in his report.. He disavowed the evidence of other investigators and set himself up as the only viable assessor…

An additional consideration is that no expert is perfect – even the best trained experts will not always reach conclusions of absolute certainty.67

The problem is that the majority of judges do not take the less restrictive view found in Lapierre v. Lapierre (1991), 34 R.F.L. 129. Nanji v. Nanji (1987), 8 R.F.L. (3d) 221 held the court is not to “rubber stamp expert opinion.” In itself this is not detrimental but, in practice, judges go further than simply limiting the weight given to expert evidence. They equate their discretion with knowledge of the facts and equate knowledge of the facts with an intimate understanding of the family dynamics. But how can a judge know and understand all of the substantial incidents which have accumulated during critical stages of a child’s life? In Thatcher v. Thatcher (1980), 16 R.F.L. (2d) 263 at 271 the judge perceived social status as being synonymous with good parenting:

…one expects from a member of the legislature a greater respect for the law than has been demonstrated by him throughout this conflict. One would expect a father, particularly one of such eminence, to show by example to his sons that the law is to be obeyed and the truth told.

Despite the fact that this reasoning did prevent Mr. Thatcher from getting access,

P.A.S. should have been applied instead. But P.A.S. is neither a legal term nor does it fall within legal precedent. This should not be a determining factor. In Martiniuk v. Martiniuk (1978), 2 R.F.L. (2d) 39 at 47 Hughes J. explained the process behind his reasoning:

No book of knowledge contains clear-cut answers as to whether I have reached a correct 6r incorrect decision. Like so many decisions that have to be made in matrimonial matters, knowledge of the law, limited as it may be, is of a secondary nature and has played little part in the decision arrived at.

I cling to no precedent nor authoritative text as supporting the result I have arrived at. In deciding this problem, it has been a matter, after weighing and considering all of the evidence, of drawing on such experience, reason, and common sense that I have at my command, admittedly limited in each instance.

I am mindful that in light of the evidence of Dr. Shepel and his supporting brief that perhaps there is some risk involved in deciding as I have. On balance, I have concluded that cannot deter me from ordering as I feel I must do, and, of course, responsibility for the decision must rest with me.

Though Hughes J. takes responsibility for his decision and makes legal knowledge subservient to comrnon sense and experience, he does not mention P.A.S. Further, it is unlikely that his experiences – being “admittedly limited” – would include P.A.S.

As long as this cycle continues, P.A.S. will remain an ominous term which seems to have no reality outside a social science textbook. This cycle has another negative implication for P.A.S. progress:

…losing parties in a custody or visitation question have a natural, vested interest in contesting the findings of a psychologist. Because trial courts are ordinarily given wide latitude in making custody determinations, complaints regarding the professional behaviour of practitioners may be one of the few avenues open for appeal to a litigant who has lost an opening legal round over custody.68

If P.A.S. has its foundations in psychology and psychological testimony is either ignored, devalued, or openly criticized, then it would seem that P.A.S. has little chance of survival – let alone initial recognition.

Solutions

“The key to the solution usually lies within the child.”69 However, as illustrated by the evidentiary dilemmas, the child’s true mental state is often inaccessible. As well, often the brainwashing does not have to continue – eventually, the child internalizes the alienating parent’s thoughts and opinions. In the absence of the brainwashing, P.A.S. may appear to be eradicated when it has actually become a permanent state of mind. Thus, as stated above, the child must be the focus of any solution. Gardner’s radical treatment – to be used in extreme cases of P.A.S. – seems to reflect this reality. The treatment involves:

…forcibly removing the child from the custody of the [alienating] parent and placing him or her with the ‘hated’ other parent…with supervised access reinstated gradually.70

But when P.A.S. is placed in a legal context – either in the courtroom or settlement proceedings – Gardner’s intervention has resulted in

…the major portion of the blame for the problem being placed upon the parent who is believed to fuel the child’s alienation. That is, less attention is being paid to what the child brings to the situation, whereas the hated parent is viewed entirely as the victim.71

Gardner’s rationale is that the degree of alienation is directly proportional to the time spent alienating. Thus, removal of the child from the alienator should stop the alienation – but this does not mean that the alienating effects are automatically eliminated. For the most part, however, the courts seem to have moved in Gardner’s direction. In Martiniuk v. Martiniuk (1978), 2 R.F.L. (2d) 39 at the court held that

To deny the father his access rights, given the conduct of the mother and her common law husband, would be tantamount to allowing the parties in error to ‘beat the system.’

In Herbeniuk v. Herbeniuk (1985), 44 Sask. R. 52 at 60 a similar approach was taken:

I am not, however, satisfied that the expressed concerns justify a complete denial of access. This, in my view, would merely serve to punish the children for their father’s indiscretions.

Though these cases do not reflect a willingness to reverse custody – as Gardner suggests – the emphasis on not denying access to the alienated parent appears to be a less radical version of the “radical intervention.” Rutherford v. Rutherford (1986), 4 R.R.L. (3d) at 458-459, however, reveals that the more likely — and disturbing — scenario is that

…access will be terminated if it proves sufficiently unsettling to the child, even where the problem may be laid squarely at the feet of the custodial parent.

This is an unfortunate product of being unaware of P.A.S.

The Family Systems framework seems to be more preventative than Gardner’s intervention solution. This framework is premised on the notion that the family is a dynamic system which requires cohesion and continuity even after a divorce or separation. Its supporters contend that

Through participating in the decision-making process, members of the family are more likely to be supportive of the child custody arrangement – [hence, less conflict and less brainwashing].72

Psychological interventions can also be preventative if instigated early enough. According to Roger Ulrich,

Awareness of our own needs and attitudes is our most effective instrument for maintaining our own integrity and control over our own reactions.73

Alienating parents lack such insight into their behaviour. Thus, eradicating the alienation must also involve environmental modifications and knowledge of the actual brainwashing techniques, the motives behind them and their effects. Consequently,

Talk therapy with no focus, no measurements, and no time line is often a waste of time in [brainwashing] cases…it may be counterproductive because nothing may be discovered when, in fact, there are real social causes of the problems. Also, surfacing issues without an awareness of the causal agents may lead to serious mistakes in diagnosis and recommendations to parents and/or the courts.74

Attribution therapy has also been recommended for P.A.S. situations. If the alienating parent can learn how to make interactive attributions – not blaming a single party or incident -regarding the reasons for the divorce, then it is less likely that they would brainwash.75 However, even this forrn of therapy may not be completely effective:

It is still unclear whether interactive explanations for divorce lead to better post-divorce adjustment or whether people who make interactive attributions in general are just happier, more confident, and more active people, or whether both are true. [Perhaps the outcomes are personality-oriented].76

To further limit the effectiveness of psychological interventions, approximately 15 percent of children felt that mental health experts could not help their situation:

So what can anybody do? This has been going on for years. We’ve seen more therapists than I can count. Nothing against you, but if you don’t agree with my mom [or dad], she’ll [or he’ll] try to get you fired too!77

Thus, even court ordered changes in therapists may be futile for the alienating parent will simply seek out another therapist who supports his or her position. On rare occasions, the court acts as a kind of therapist. This was evident in Metz v. Metz (1991), 34 R.F.L. 255 at 260:

…the parents must earn their children’s affections rather than depend upon the court to order the children to associate with them at certain times.

Nanji v. Nanji (1987), 8 R.F.L. (3d) 221 at 224 corresponds with Metz:

If I have misjudged Mr. Nanji or if there is a change of heart, the appropriate adjustment can be made. I am even hopeful that the parties might work something out between themselves.

Basically, court orders cannot be a substitute for the facilitation of an understanding between the parties – it is the latter process which will eventually break the P.A.S. impasse. However, this attitude does not frequent many ratios and even Metz and Nanji do not incorporate P.A.S. into their reasoning.

Nonetheless, the court is usually guided by the Best Interests Test. While this test is theoretically sound, it is not the best means to deal with P.A.S.78 Many courts have held that “if [the] attitude persists against the non-custodial parent, [then] the child should stay with the custodial [alienating] parent.”79 However, this is a superficial application of the Best Interests Test for the child is being forced to stay with an abusive parent simply because brainwashing is not currently within the court’s definition of abuse. For instance, assertions about parent-contact preferences must be proven via careful interviewing techniques since 65 percent of children change their assertions immediately when asked the right questions in the right sequence:

Interviewer: If mom said it was okay, would it help you to see dad more often?
Child: She’d never say it, no way.
Interviewer: But if she would?
Child: Yeah, I guess so.80

Most alienating parents try to use the Best Interests Test to their own advantage. This is referred to as the Independent Thinker phenomenon – “I want him to see his father [or mother], but if he doesn’t want to, I will fight to ensure that his decision is respected.”81

Another discrepancy in the. application of the Best Interests Test is that there is no consistency regarding the age-preference connection. In Lapierre v. Lapierre (1991), 34 R.F.L. 129 the wishes of children aged seven and ten were not considered determinative By contrast, a child of eleven in Metz v. Metz (1991), 34 R.F.L. 255 had his preferences respected even though it was apparent that a parent may have influenced his choice. Smith v. Smith (1991), 34 R.F.L. 367 at 370 takes a more realistic approach than Metz:

Unfortunately, Michael is at an age (12) when he is able to make certain decisions for himself, but is not yet free from the influences of others…

Radford v. Cassiano, [Unreported, 1995] Ont. C.J. – Prov. Div. is perhaps the most extreme application of the Best Interests Test and its approach could be quite damaging where P.A.S. is an issue:

…preferences of children of this age (6 and 7 years old) are generally not determinative of the issue, but when they are so strongly held, apparently arising from their own wishes and being reasonable under the circumstances, they should be taken into consideration…82

However, a P.A.S. child will generally have strong views because of the intensity of the brainwashing and these views may appear reasonable because the alienating parent’s aim is to convince others that the other parent is bad. Perhaps if the best interests of the child were considered in the home rather than being placed within the strictures of a legal test, then P.A.S. would not even be an issue.

The Custody Project at the Department of Psychiatry (University of Toronto) has attempted to combine the psychiatric and legal approaches. Custody Project involves a direct link between court-initiated referrals and child psychiatrists. However, there must be consent between all family members to receive counselling. As well, court-initiated referrals usually take place after litigation has begun., It is in this regard that Custody Project is most innovative:

[If initiated once the litigation has begun], it was hypothesized that this would be months at least after the emotional crisis of separation. On the basis that intervention might be more effective much earlier in the separation process, the members agreed to take referrals initiated by lawyers in the hope that these would be prior to litigation.83

Perhaps this kind of referral system would help reduce the percentage of brainwashed children who reach the point of no return to less than its current 5 percent.84

Given the Custody Project’s positive outcomes one would assume that mediation would be effective in P.A.S. situations. However, most P.A.S. cases reactivated after an agreement was reached even if legal sanctions such as the guilty party pays legal and therapy fees were attached. Catherine Foster, a mediator at the Unified Family Court in St. John’s, emphasized that mediation is not equal to treatment – it is front-end preventative and, in this sense, it is limited. There are three other reasons why mediation generally fails:

(1) The ‘day’ in court serve[s] as an avenue for the programmers and brainwashers to carry on their crusade to demonstrate the ‘truth’…84

(2)…one of the feuding parties is insincere and has little wish to solve the problem. The reason is that insincerity, conscious or unconscious, is one of the hallmarks of the alienating parent.86

(3).. the lack of a swift, forceful court judgment is often perceived by the alienator as denoting approval of the alienating behaviour.87

Mediation’s only advantage regarding P.A.S. is that the brainwashing might be insinuated during the mediation process. This insight may assist therapists, lawyers, or judges in their subsequent assessments.

But are any of these solutions feasible? Though each theory has its flaws, at least each theory is, by its very existence, acknowledging that custody disputes are not clear-cut. Even Gardner’s theory – which explicitly deals with P.A.S. – is not so encompassing and definitive that it can stand on its own. If the virtues of each of the previously mentioned solutions could be unified into a single theory, perhaps P.A.S. could be controlled, if not countered. However, the direct experiences of alienated parents illustrate how few “solutions” are actually being implemented.

Interviews with some members of the ACAB group underline how the “authorities” appear to be oblivious to finding solutions. They felt that more accountability and less apathy on the part of the police, social services, and the courts is essential. But is this an emotional overreaction or a reaction to a real problem? Would these individuals feel invisible, like non-persons, if they were genuinely receiving help? For instance, Mr. A told of a social worker’s naivete or deliberate blindness during a home assessment. His daughter was asleep when the social worker came for the visit. But after a brief discussion the mother brought the social worker to the daughter’s room. The daughter immediately showed the worker a doll and how her father touched her. The social worker believed, without doubt, that this was unsolicited. In addition, home assessments are usually conducted over extremely short time periods [1-1/2 to 2 hours] and often the assessor has no real qualifications [in Mr. A.’s case, the assessor only had a Bachelor of Nursing and a Masters of Education – nothing relating to social work or psychology].

As a consequence of like scenarios, many of the ACAB members have resorted to representing themselves — at least then they can expose the flaws in such “evidence” and raise P.A.S. without having to deal with their lawyer telling them that P.A.S. is fool’s gold. Some members have even proposed solutions:

(1) Consistent use of the polygraph on the alienating parent and on the brainwashed children.

(2) Develop a Children’s Law which is a distinct branch of Family Law.

(3) Place stricter requirements on the content, timing, and enforcement of court orders. For instance,even when sexual abuse charges are dropped, supervised access is maintained for abnormally long periods of time.

(4) The legal system and the mental health system should not fall into the trap of believing that the child is in a ‘stage’ and will probably change their mind about the alienated parent when they get older. The courts should be more informed about child development theories.

These solutions, if implemented, could bring P.A.S. to the forefront. However, in the absence of legal authority, it is unlikely that the courts will be quick to adopt the recommendations of a support group – there is the risk of group self-interest. Nonetheless, with time, perhaps such groups as ACAB will gain more respect from the courts. Maybe then, P.A.S. will gain similar respect.

Conclusions

Whether P.A.S. is a new phenomenon or one which has always been present, it deserves more attention. While there is the danger of placing too much authority in a “syndrome,” there is the even greater risk of allowing innocent children to be victimized in their own homes by their “caregivers.” Children do not choose that their parents divorce -they are victims of circumstance and if that circumstance results in P.A.S. their plight becomes that much worse. Cartwright expresses this idea eloquently:

We often speak of preserving family values, but even disintegrated [divorced] nuclear families have values and rights which must be preserved and respected to prevent further disintegration and total collapse. To do less is to sacrifice entire generations of children on the altar of alienation, condemning them to familial maladjustment and inflicting on them lifelong parental loss.88

This parallels John Bowlby’s words quoted from Separation, Anxiety, and Anger at the outset of the essay.

Underlying all of the theories are three fundamental ideas: (1) brainwashing is a complex product of pain, emotional need, and a desire to “win”; (2) the legal context of divorce intensifies the brainwashing; (3) brainwashing can easily be disguised because it is generally founded on a core of reality. P.A.S. will never become more than a theory, however, if its practical, legal implications are not resolved. P.A.S. must be recognized by the legal system yet, at the same time, it must not be transformed into a legal term. If P.A.S. is to make its way into the courtroom it must be shown the way by lawyers and judges. But, once inside, it has to speak for itself. Once P.A.S. has reached this point, evidentiary dilemmas will be less impenetrable – P.A.S. will be open to discussion which will heighten understanding.

Thus, to search for a solution to P.A.S. is illusory. P.A.S. is multi-faceted in terms of its onset, development, and outcomes. At this point, awareness of the existence of P.A.S. should be given optimum importance. Although this awareness may not encourage an immediate awareness in alienating parents, it may eventually create an atmosphere wherein parents will not feel the need to alienate. Perhaps this will happen when the legalities surrounding divorce become less alienating — when the truth is not being sacrificed for ‘justice” in custody battles. Only then can the parameters of P.A.S. be fully explored., Only then will custody battles have a chance of becoming custody evaluations.

APPENDIX

Sample Description:
Children with Programming/Brainwashing Parents

Number (N) 700
Age Range of Children Infancy through twenty years of age

Source: Clawar, Stanley S., et al. Children Held Hostage. Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children. Chicago: American Bar Association, 1991 at 174-180.

TABLE 1
Social-Class Breakdown Using Income, Education, and Occupation as Class Indicators

Class % N
Upper-upper 10 70
Middle-upper 10 70
Lower-upper 20 140
Upper-middle 30 210
Middle-middle 20 140
Lower-middle 5 35
Upper-lower 2 14
Middle-lower 2 14
Lower-lower 1 7
Total 100 700

TABLE 2
Occupations of Parents

Occupation Mothers Fathers
% N % N
Professional 15 105 30 210
Business 25 175 40 280
Skilled 20 140 19 133
Semi-skilled 15 105 5 35
Unskilled 15 105 5 35
Unemployed 10 70 1 7
Total 100 100 100 100

TABLE 3
Family Size, by Number of Children

Range 1-6
Median 2.5

TABLE 4
Sex of Children

% N
Female 51 357
Male 49 343
Total 100 100

TABLE 5
Educational Levels of Parents

LEVEL Mothers Fathers
% N % N
Middle School 1 4 1 7
High School 14 100 10 70
Some College 40 280 20 140
Four-year college (completed) 30 208 40 280
Advanced Study (beyond four years of college) 16 108 29 203
Total 101 700 100 700

TABLE 6
Urban/Suburban Distribution

% N
Urban 15 105
Suburban 80 560
Rural 5 35
Total 100 700

TABLE 7
Most Common Detection Factors Present, by Percentage of Cases

Detection Factors % of Cases
Contradictory statements 70
Inappropriate and unnecessary information 85
Character assault 60
Collusion or one-sided alliance 50
Child as spy or conduit of information 30
Use of indirect statements 70
Restrictions on permission to be loved 90
Unchildlike statements 30
Good parent v. bad parent 55
Comparative -martyr role 80
Fear of contact with other parent 20
Anxiety arousal 60
Cohort in secret-keeping 30
Child as mirror image of programmer 20
Confusion of birth parent’s importance 21
Manifestation of guilt 40
Scripted views 45
unmanageability for no apparent reason 15
Radical changes and dysfunctional behavior manifested in other spheres 44
Nonverbal messages 38
Coaching behavior 28
Brain twirling 15
Children threatens parent 8
Child as parent’s best friend 12
Physical survival 10

TABLE 8A
Brainwashing Techniques

(1) Denial-of-existence syndrome: Never talks about the other parent; desecrate photos of other parent; do not acknowledge child’s positive experiences with other parent.
(2) The ‘Who, Me?’ syndrome: Parent tries to convince the child that she must be misinterpreting the brainwashing parent – a form of denial.
(3) Middle-Man syndrome: Speaking to the child about issues that should first have been discussed with the other parent – a form of exclusion.
(4) Circumstantial syndrome: By manipulating, rearranging, changing and commenting on time, the parent tries to gain dominance in the child’s eyes.
(5) ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with him’ syndrome: Create and exaggerate differences between themself and the other parent in front of the children.
(6) The Ally syndrome: Sympathy is the key.
(7) The Morality syndrome: Attack morality of other parent to elevate own inorality
(8) ‘Threat of withdrawal of love’ syndrome & ‘I’m the only one who really loves you’ syndrome: self-explanatory.
(9) ‘You’re an endangered species’ syndrome & Physical Survival syndrome: Judgmental, opinionated, negative commentary about the target parent after the child returns from a visitation.
(10) Rewriting-reality syndrome: This is basically the intent behind all of the above techniques.

Source: Clawar, Stanley S. Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children. Chicago: American Bar Association, 1991 at 15-36.

TABLE 8B
Percentage of Parents, by Sex, Using Certain Brainwashing Techniques

Techniques M F
1. Denial-of-existence syndrome 5 50
2. The ‘Who me?’ syndrome
a. Extended family 12 40
b. Career 2 30
c. Living arrangements and travel 22 60
d. Activities 15 43
e. Associates 25 52
3. Middleman syndrome 20 60
4. Circumstantial syndrome 12 40
5. ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with him/her’ syndrome 11 40
6. Ally syndrome 16 85
7. Morality syndrome 10 60
8. Threat-of-withdrawal-of-love syndrome 5 42
9. ‘I’m the only one who really loves you’ syndrome 10 60
10. ‘You’re an endangered species’ syndrome 15 39
11. Rewriting reality syndrome 20 60
12. Physical survival syndrome 5 4

* Higher for Females, except for Physical survival Syndrome (but only a narrow margin).

TABLE 8C
Percentage of Children Aware of Brainwashing Techniques Employed by Parents

Aware: the children understand that the messages sent were inappropriate attempts to influence their views and behaviors.

Techniques (as in Table 8B) Awareness
Yes No
1. Denial-of-existence 10 90
2. “Who Me”
a. Extended Family 5 95
b. Career 4 96
c. Living arrangements and travel 60 40
d. Activities 70 30
e. Associates 75 25
3. Middleman 86 14
4. Circumstantial 62 38
5. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him/her” 48 52
6. Ally 30 70
7. Morality 50 50
8. Threat-of-withdrawal-of-love 9 91
9. “I’m the only one who really loves you.” 5 95
10. “You’re an endangered species” 4 96
11. Rewriting reality 5 95
12. Physical survival 10 90

TABLE 9
Percentage of Parents Who Programme/Brainwash, by Intensity Level

Intensity Level (on average) %
More than once per day 20
About once per day 20
More than once per week 10
Once per week 10
Occasionally 20
No detection of programming/brainwashing 20

TABLE 10
Detection Techniques & Commentaries

Character assault (with moral overtones):
Evaluator/Therapist/Judge: What do you like about being at Mom’s? (open-ended and positive question)
Child: Mommy has lots of boyfriends who sleep over. Daddy says she’s a whore because the Bible says so.
Commentary: Representative of externally imposed definition with negative moral judgments on the target parent. Note child did not answer the question – a frequent occurrence for programmed children.

Use of indirect statements:
E/T/J: How did this weekend go? Does Mom/Dad have an opinion about the time you spend at Mom’s/ Dad’s?
Child: When I get home, Mom says things like, ‘Too bad you had to go with your dad this weekend -you missed a great ski trip. I bet you only watched TV, as usual.’ Mom’s right, he’s boring.
Commentary: Rather than encouraging a child to enjoy the time spent with a parent, the parent convinces the child that he will experience boredom. He will also be programmed to be thinking about what he’s missing, thereby mentally remaining in the mother’s home even though he is physically with his father.

Child appears as a mirror image of the programmer:
E/T/J: Why do you think your father is trying so hard to make sure he has more time with you?
Child: Dad doesn’t really love me or want me to live with him – he just wants custody to hurt mom.
Commentary: Most children who are aware of their parents’ custody conflict do not interpret the legal battles as indicating;that they are not loved or that one parent wants to hurt the other, unless they have been so informed.

Brain Twirling:
E/T/J: On the one hand, you say that the joint custody was good in a lot of ways. On the other hand, you say you don’t want it anymore. How come?
Child: I always thought I wanted joint custody (equal time in this case), and it was working in the beginning. But then my dad started so much trouble with Mom, it just isn’t worth it anymore.
Commentary: A programmer sends the child confused messages of both support and disdain for the relationship the child is having with the target parent. If both positive and negative messages are sent to the child about the target parent, the child will usually be most influenced by the negative ones. Also, the child needs civility and often creates an alliance with the programmer in an attempt to stop the intrapsychic and social conflict.

Coaching Behavior: E/T/J is at a home visit
Child: [Upon entering her father’s home, a four-year-old exclaims this to the evaluators who are present for a home visit]:
E/T/J: How do you know that?
Child: My mommy told me to tell you he did.
Commentary: The repetition of an idea by the programmer is one of the more easily detectable clues. Evaluators often can elicit this programming by asking direct questions, as in this case. However, at other times it is necessary to lead up to the source indirectly. Protectionistic responses by the child include ‘I just know, that’s all,’ or ‘It’s true.’ Pursuing the base of the information – actual observation, parental brainwashing, conjecture, other adults, overhearing a conversation – takes discretion and knowing when to drop a topic and return later. Rapport is often a key element in obtaining full disclosure.

Child threatens parent (reverse situation):
E/T/J: I heard you say that you wanted to tell the judge certain things about your mom. What’s the story?
Child: Yeah, I told my Mom she better do what I want, because my dad told me I should tell him whenever Mom does something wrong, because the judge will punish her.
Commentary: Parents can become the powerless ones in custody conflicts. Children move in to fill the “power vacuum” with the help of a brainwashing parent. The target parent walks on eggshells with the child1 fearing that any disciplinary measures will be relayed and misinterpreted to the other parent and/or to the court.

TABLE 11
Gardner’s Questions for Judges in Interviewing Children

1. Describe your mother to me.
2. Describe your father to me.
3. What do you think about your father’s family?
4. Does your mother interfere with your visiting your father?
5. Why then don’t you want to visit with your father?
6. Does your mother harass you?
7. Does your father harass you?

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS

Bala, Nicholas. ICPA Update Vol.5: Child Abuse and the Law.

Clawar, Stanley S., et al. Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children. Chicago: American Bar Association, 1991.

Gardner, Richard A. Family Evaluation in Child Custody: Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation. New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, 1989.

Gardner, Richard A. The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Proftssionals. New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, 1992.

Goldwater, A. Developpements recents en droit familial. “Le syndrome d’alienation parentale.” Quebec: Les Editions Yvon Blais, 1991.

Johnston, Janet. Non-Residential Parenting: New Vistas in Family Living. California: Sage, 1993.

Langer, Ellen J. The Psychology of Control. California: Sage Publications, Inc., 1983.

Parry, Ruth S., et al. Custody Disputes Evaluation and Intervention. Massachusetts: D.C. Heath and Company, 1986.

Ulrich, Roger, et al. Control of Human Behavior: Expanding the Behavioral Laboratory. Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1966.

INTERVIEWS

Foster, Catherine. Mediator at the Unified Family Court, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Feb.22, 1995.

ACAB Group. Support Group for Accused and Abused Parents involved in Custody Disputes, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Feb.25, 1995.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Ash, Peter, et al. “Biased Reporting by Parents Undergoing Child Custody Evaluations.” Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, September 1991, Vol.30(5).

Bertoia, C., et al. “The Fathers’ Rights Movement: Contradictions in Rhetoric and Practice.” Journal of Family Issues, 1993, Vol.14.

Best, J. “Dividing the Child: Social and Legal Dilemmas of Custody.” Social Science Quarterly, 1994, Vol. 75 (1).

Cartwright, Glenn F. “Expanding the Parameters of Parental Alienation Syndrome.” The American Journal of Family Therapy, Fall 1993, Vol. 21(3).

Cooke, Gerald, et al. “Dealing with Sexual Abuse Allegations in the Context of Custody Evaluations.” American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 1991, Vol.9(3).

Dunne, John, et al. “The Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Analysis of Sixteen Selected Cases.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 1994, Vol.21(3/4).

Elliot, Jane, et al. “Parental Divorce and the Life Chances of Children.” Family Law, November 1991.

Emery, R. E. “Interparental Conflict and the Children of Discord and Divorce.” Psychological Bulletin, 1982, Vol.92.

Frost, Abbie K., et al. “The Effects of Marital Disruption on Adolescents: Time as a Dynamic.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, October 1990, Vol. 60.

Gardner, Richard A. “Differentiating Between True and False Sex-Abuse Accusations in Child-Custody Disputes.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 1994, Vol.21(314).

Gardner, Richard A. “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation.” The Academy Forum, 1985, Vol. 29(2).

Green, Arthur. ‘1True and False Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Child Custody Disputes.” Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 1986, Vol. 25(4).

Green, Arthur. “Factors Contributing to False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse in Custody Disputes.” Child and Youth Services, 1991, Vol.15(2).

Healy, Joseph, et al. “Children and their Fathers Afier Parental Separation.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, October 1990, Vol.60(4).

Johnston, J. R. “High Conflict Divorce.” Future and the Child, Spring 1994, Vol.4(1).

Laurence, Liam. “How Vindictive Mommies Break the Law.” Western Report, December 30, 1991.

Levy, D. “Review of Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals.” American Journal of Family Therapy, 1992, Vol.20(3).

MacDonald, Peter, et al. “Suffer the Children.” Western Report, February 5, 1990.

Margulies, Sam, et al. “Litigation, Mediation and the Psychology of Divorce.” The Journal of Psychiatry & Law, Winter 1992, Vol.20.

McAnulty, Richard D. “Expert Psychological Testimony in Cases of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1993, Vol.22(4).

Muchnian, Madelyn S. “Professional Controversies in Child Sexual Abuse Assessment.” The Journal of Psychiatry & Law, Spring 1992, Vol.20.

Miller, G. “The Psychological Best Interests of the Child.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 1993, Vol. 19(1/2).

Palmer, Nancy R. “Legal Recognition of the Parental Alienation Syndrome.” The American Journal of Family Therapy, 1988, Vol.16(4).

Radovanovic, H., et al. “A Follow-Up of Families Disputing Child Custody Access: Assessment, Settlement, and Family Relationship Outcomes.” Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 1994, Vol.12(4).

Rothberg, B. “Joint Custody: Parental Problems and Satisfactions.” Multidisciplinary Journal of Family Study Research and Treatment, March 1983, Vol.22(1).

Saunders, Elisabeth B., et al. “Custodial Fathers, Custodial Mothers and their Former Spouses in Protracted Custody Disputes: Clinical Opinions and Data.” The Journal of Psychiatry & Law, Winter 1987, Vol.15.

Saunders, Richard T. “Some Ethical and Legal Features of Child Custody Disputes: A Case Illustration and Applications.” Psychotherapy, Spring 1993, Vol.30(1).

Schudson, Charles. “Antagonistic Parents in Family Courts: False Allegations or False Assumptions About True Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse?” Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 1992, Vol.1(2).

Von Hauff, Donna. “Framing a Father Fails in Court.” Western Report, March 4, 1991.

Wall, Jack C., et al. “An Integrated Approach to Child Custody Evaluation: Utilizing the “Best Interest” of the Child and Family Systems Frameworks.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 1994, Vol.21(3/4).

Warren, Amye, et al. “Inducing Resistance to Suggestibility in Children.” Law and Human Behavior, 1991, Vol.15(3).

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Cornacchia, Cheryl. “Dirty Tricks Penalized in Custody Battles.” Montreal Gazette, November 30, 1992 at SA.

CASE LAW

Herbeniuk v. Herbeniuk (1985), 44 Sask. R. 52.

Humphries v. Humphries (1986), 59 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 1.

Lacaille v. Manger, [1994] O.J. No.2880 North Bay Registry No. FC153/93, Ontario Court of Justice – Provincial Division.

Lapierre v. Lapierre (1991), 34 R.F.L. 129. – 7

Martiniuk v. Martiniuk (1978), 2 R.F.L. (2d) 39.

Metz v. Metz (1991), 34 R.F.L. 255.

Nanji v. Nanji (1987), 8 R.F.L. (3d) 221.

Nickerson v. Nickerson (1 991), 34 R.F.L. 341.

P. (G.L.) v.P. (J.M.) (1990), 27 R.F.L. (3d) 64.

Powley v. Wagner and Roy (1987), 62 Sask. R. 222.

Ptashnik v. Ptashnik (1988), 12 R.F.L. (3d) 377.

R. v. R.W., [1993] O.J. No.855 DRS 94-02433, Action No. C7239, Ontario Court of Justice – General Division.

Radford v. Cassiano, [1995] O.J. No.105 Kingston Registry No.460/90, Ontario Court of Justice – Provincial Division.

Robinson v. Robinson (1985), 48 R.F.L. (2d) 264.

Rutherford v. Rutherford (1986), 4 R.F.L. (3d) 457.

Smith v. Smith (1991), 34 R.F.L. 367.

Thatcher v. Thatcher (1980), 16 R.F.L. (2d) 263. Voegelin v. Voegelin (1980), 15 R.F.L. (2d) 1.

W.(K.M.) v. W.(D.D.), [1993] O.J. No.1344 DRS 94-00129 Action No. D47/91, Ontario Coiirt of Justice – Provincial Division.

Zilka v. Zilka (1978), 5 Alta. L.R. (2d) 358.

Zivkovic v. Zivkovic, [1994] O.J. No.2958 Toronto Registry No. D1559/90 A3, Ontario Court of Justice – Provincial Division.

Parental Alienation Syndrome:A ‘Hidden’ Facet of Custody Disputes by L. Cook.

Parental Alienation Oppponents Defeated Again in California

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Liberty, Marriage, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 31, 2010 at 6:45 pm
July 26th, 2010 by Glenn Sacks, MA, Executive Director

Fathers and Families and its legislative allies have succeeded in killing one of the worst family law bills in modern history–California’s AB 612. The bill, put forward by the well-funded advocacy group Center for Judicial Excellence (and supported by the California National Organization for Women), would have banned Parental Alienation from being mentioned in any way, shape, or form in a California family court. Because of California’s tremendous influence in shaping the laws of other states, this loss would have led to a mushrooming of similarly damaging legislation in other states.

Fathers and Families’ legislative representative Michael Robinson helped cobble together a coalition of family law professional organizations and experts to oppose the bill. We were able to bottle the bill up in the Senate Judiciary Committee last year and keep it there until last week, when it died. To learn more about the bill, see our co-authored column Preventing courts from considering parental alienation will harm kids (Capitol Weekly, 2/25/10).

The defeat of AB 612 is a victory for the family court reform movement and for children everywhere. Victories cost money, as does our deep, professional involvement inside the political system—please support our successful work by making a tax-deductible contribution by clicking here.

This is the second time in two months that Fathers & Families has been instrumental in defeating a Center for Judicial Excellence bill—in June, we helped kill AB 2475, which was also related to Parental Alienation. To learn more, see F & F Helps Defeat Radical Bill from Opponents of Recognizing Parental Alienation.

Whereas Fathers & Families’ family court reform bills have been moving swiftly through the California legislature, the Center for Judicial Excellence is now 0-2 in the 2009-2010 legislative session.

The CJE claims that there’s a “crisis” in family courts, and that courts are handing over custody of children to physically and sexually abusive fathers. They promote reforms which will make it easier to deny parents shared custody or visitation rights based on unsubstantiated abuse claims. As we’ve noted before, there is no empirical basis supporting this claim. The vast majority of the cases that groups like the CJE put forward as alleged examples of this “crisis” of abusive fathers winning child custody are being badly misrepresented–to learn more, click here.

The events surrounding AB 2475 and AB 612 are further validation of Fathers and Families’ emphasis on the need for the family court reform movement to employ full-time legislative representatives and engage in the political process on a professional level. To support this work with your tax-deductible gift, please click here.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers and Families

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Chair of the Board, Fathers and Families

Life Without Father – By David Popenoe

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Life Without a Father

By David Popenoe
Reader’s Digest (Canada) November 1997, page 117

What a man contributes to child rearing may surprise you

THE DECLINE of fatherhood is one of the most unexpected and extraordinary social trends of our time. In just three decades — 1960 to 1990 — the number of children living apart from their biological fathers [that is: natural fathers] nearly doubled. By the turn of the century almost 50 percent of North American children may be going to sleep each evening without being able to say good night to their dads.
There was a time in the past when fatherlessness was far more common than it is today, but death was to blame — not divorce, desertion or out-of-wedlock births. Most of today’s fatherless children have fathers who are perfectly capable of shouldering the responsibilities of fatherhood. Who would ever have thought that so many of them would choose to relinquish those responsibilities?
A surprising suggestion emerging from recent social-science research is that it is decidedly worse to a child to lose a father in the modern, voluntary way than through death. The children of divorced and never-married mothers are less successful by almost every measure than the children of widowed mothers.
Out-of-wedlock births may surpass divorce as a cause of fatherlessness later in the 1990s. They accounted for 32 percent of all U.S. births in 1995; by the year 2000 they may account for 40 percent of the total. And there is reason to believe that having an unmarried father is even worse for a child than having a divorced father.

MEN ARE not biologically attuned to being committed fathers. Left culturally unregulated, men’s sexual behaviour can be promiscuous, their paternity casual, their commitment to families weak. In recognition of this, cultures have used sanctions to bind men to their children, and of course the institution of marriage has been culture’s chief vehicle.
Our experience in late-20th-century society shows what happens when such a sanction breaks down. The decline of fatherhood is a major force behind many of the most disturbing problems that plague us.
In the mid-1950s, only 27 percent of American girls had sexual intercourse by age 18; in 1988, 56 percent of such girls-including a tenth of 15-year-olds-had become sexually active. Fatherlessness is a contributing factor.
Teen suicide has nearly tripled in the United States. Alcohol and drug abuse among teenagers continues at a very high rate. Scholastic Assessment Test scores declined 75 points between 1960 and l990. The absence of fathers seems to be one of the most important causes of these trends.
Few people doubt the fundamental importance of mothers, but what do fathers do? Much of what they contribute is simply the result of being a second adult in the home. Bringing up children is demanding, stressful and exhausting. Two adults can support and spell each other. They can offset each other’s deficiencies and build on each other’s strengths.
Fathers also bring an array of unique qualities. Some are familiar: the father as protector, for example, and role model. Teenage boys without fathers are notoriously prone to trouble. The pathway to adulthood for daughters is somewhat easier, but they still must learn from their fathers, in ways they cannot from their mothers, how to relate to men. They learn from their fathers about heterosexual trust, intimacy and difference. They learn to appreciate their own femininity from the one male who is most special in their lives. Most important, through loving and being loved by their fathers, they learn that they are love-worthy.
Current research gives much deeper — and more surprising — insights into the father’s role in child rearing. One significant overlooked dimension of fathering is play. From their children’s birth through adolescence, fathers tend to emphasize play more than caretaking. The father’s style of play is likely to be both physically stimulating and exciting. With older children it involves more team work, requiring competitive testing of physical and mental skills. It frequently resembles a teaching relationship: Come on, let me show you how.
Mothers play more at the child’s level. They seem willing to let the child direct play.
Kids, at least in the early years, seem to prefer to play with daddy. In one study of 2 ½-year-olds who were given a choice, more than two thirds chose to play with their father.
The way fathers play has effects on everything from the management of emotions to intelligence and academic achievement. It is particularly important in promoting self-control. According to one expert, “children who roughhouse with their fathers quickly learn that biting, kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable.” They learn when to “shut it down.” At play and in other realms, fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiative, risk taking and independence. Mothers, as caretakers, stress emotional security and personal safety. On the playground fathers often try to get the child to swing ever higher, while mothers are cautious, worrying about an accident.
We know, too, that fathers’ involvement seems to be linked to improved verbal and problem-solving skills and higher academic achievement. Several studies found that the presence of the father is one of the determinants of girls’ proficiency in mathematics. And one pioneering study showed that along with paternal strictness, the amount of time fathers spent reading with them was a strong predictor of their daughters’ verbal ability.
For sons, the results have been equally striking. Studies uncovered a strong relationship between fathers’ involvement and the mathematical abilities of their sons. Other studies found a relationship between paternal nurturing and boys’ verbal intelligence.
We don’t often think of fathers in connection with the teaching of empathy, a character trait essential to an ordered society of law-abiding, co-operative and compassionate adults. But at the end of a 26-year study, a trio of re-

[A graph was inserted here in the original article. The graph, called
CANADIAN CHILDREN LIVING
APART FROM THEIR FATHERS,
shows the following data
1961   9.0%
1995 17.3%
Source: Statistics Canada, 93 312; and Census of Canada]

searchers at Harvard University reached a “quite astonishing” conclusion: Of those they examined, the most important childhood factor in developing empathy was paternal involvement in child care.
It is not clear why fathers are so important in instilling this quality. Perhaps merely by being with their children they provide a model for compassion. Perhaps it has to do with their style of play or mode of reasoning. Whatever the cause, it is hard to think of a more important contribution that fathers can make to their children.
The benefits of active fatherhood do not all flow to the child. Child rearing encourages men to develop those habits of character — including prudence, cooperativeness, honesty, trust and self-sacrifice — that can lead to achievement as an economic provider. Having children typically impresses on men the importance of setting a good example. Who has not heard at least one man say that he gave up an irresponsible way of life when he married and had children?
On the face of it, there would seem to be at least one potentially positive side to fatherlessness: Without a man around the house, the incidence of child abuse might be expected to drop. Unfortunately, reports of child neglect and abuse have skyrocketed since the mid ’70s. One of the greatest risk factors in child abuse, investigations found, is family disruption, especially living in a female-headed, single-parent household.
Why does living in a fatherless household pose such hazards for children? Explanations include poverty and the fact that children receive less supervision and protection from men their mothers bring home. Children are also more emotionally deprived, which leaves them “vulnerable to sexual abusers, who commonly entrap them by offering affection, attention and friendship,” wrote David Finkelhor, an expert on child abuse.
Another group that has suffered in the new age of fatherlessness is, of course, women. In this new era the oft-quoted quip that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle no longer seems quite so funny. There is no doubt that many women get along very well without men in their lives, and that having the wrong men in their lives can be disastrous. But just as it seems to play a role in assaults on children, fatherlessness appears to be a factor in generating more violence against women.
Partly this is a matter of arithmetic. As the number of unattached males in the population goes up, so does the incidence of violence towards women.

IN ORDER to reinstate fathers in the lives of their children, we must undo the cultural shift of the last few decades towards radical individualism. Marriage must be re-established as a strong social institution.
Many practical steps can be taken. Employers, for example, can provide generous parental leave and experiment with more flexible work hours. Religious leaders can reclaim moral ground from the culture of divorce and non-marriage by resisting the temptation to equate “committed relationships” with marriage. Marriage counsellors can begin with a bias in favour of marriage, stressing the needs of the family at least as much as the needs of the client. As for the entertainment industry, pressure already is being brought to curtail the glamorization of unwed motherhood, marital infidelity and sexual promiscuity.
We should consider a two-tier system of divorce law: Marriages without minor children would be relatively easy to dissolve, but marriages with children would be subject to stricter guidelines. Longer waiting periods for divorcing couples with children might be called for, combined with mandatory marriage counselling.
If we are to progress towards a more just and humane society, we must reverse the tide that is pulling fathers apart from their families. Nothing is more important for our children or for our future as a society.

How important do you think fathers are to family life? We welcome your views. Write to Readers Reply at the address on page 8 or post your comments on our web site at http://www.readersdigest.ca. Your views may be included in a future issue.

[Snail-mail address:
Excerpts Editor
Reader’s Digest
215, Redfern Ave.
Westmount, Que.
H3Z 2V9

Note: I checked their website but could not find a specific e-mail address that seemed appropriate. I suppose that some of the ones shown will do, if the recipient will forward the message to the appropriate party. –WHS]

FROM LIFE WITHOUT FATHER. COPYRIGHT © 1996 BY DAVID POPENOE PUBLISHED BY THE FREE PRESS A DIVISION OF SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC., NEW YORK, N.Y., AND DlSTRIBUTED IN CANADA AT $34 BY DISTICAN INC, 35 FULTON WAY, RlCHMOND HILL, ONT. L4B 2N4 PHOTO: [not shown] © RICHARD LEE

DAVID POPENOE is a professor of sociology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
===<end of article>===

In response to the article, I sent the following message to Reader’s Digest:

Dear Reader’s Digest,

Re: Life Without Father, November 1997

Thank you for publishing the outstanding article by David Popenoe.  It is too bad that the article contained two paragraphs that didn’t ring quite true in the context, although they are in line with the “politically correct” view that men are to be blamed for everything bad that has befallen us over the last thirty year and before that.

In his second paragraph David Popenoe stated:

“There was a time in the past when fatherlessness was far more common than it is today, but death was to blame — not divorce, desertion or out-of-wedlock births.  Most of today’s fatherless children have fathers who are perfectly capable of shouldering the responsibilities of fatherhood.  Who would ever have thought that so many of them would choose to relinquish those responsibilities?”

A number of things are not right with that.

Never in modern history has fatherlessness been more common than it is now, not even as a result of the massive numbers of casualties during the First World War, and never before in the history of mankind was fatherlessness pandemic at anything approaching today’s rates in the whole world, especially not in all of western civilization.

One statistic might serve to provide some clarification in that regard.  In my home-town (Duesseldorf, Germany, pop 540,000 before W.W.II and 350,000 at end of W.W.II) immediately after the end of W.W.II, “Almost 10% of the children had lost their fathers, the fathers of 4.5% of the children were missing in action and of 7.8% in prison of war camps;” [Source: In Schutt und Asche, page 100 (Volker Zimmermann, Grupello Verlag, ISBN 3-928234-28-5, (my translation) –WHS].  I’m certain that other people will be able to provide far more comprehensive statistics pertaining to historical levels of fatherlessness.

There is nothing wrong with the statement contained in the second sentence in the paragraph.  It clearly illustrates the insanity of today’s society in substituting fathers with government care, by pushing fathers out of their children’s life.  I’m glad that Prof. Popenoe makes an excellent case for the wrongfulness of that policy in the rest of his article.  However, the last sentence in the paragraph is an outrageous insult to all fathers who are fighting a hopeless battle for the right of their children to have a father in their lives.  Those fathers are being emotionally and financially devastated by our bureaucracies in the process of that battle.  After all, it is not mostly fathers who walk out of their children’s lives that causes our epidemic of fatherlessness.  In three out of four cases it is the mother who pushes the father out of the children’s lives and files for divorce — most often in the mistaken belief that a life without a provider and protector in the family will provide greater freedom and  more income.

What Prof. Popenoe should have clarified instead in that paragraph is that never in the history of mankind have men been vilified to the extent that they are being vilified today, and that as a result of that vilification a constant stream of anti-father and anti-family legislation is being produced that increasingly makes it impossible for far too many fathers to play an active role in their children’s lives.

Let’s hope that Prof. Popenoe will also write an article on single motherhood and the problems faced by children who grow up in the care of single mothers together with their half-siblings who are often the children of two or more different men.  That might compensate for the impact that his fourth paragraph has on his readers.  He stated there:

“MEN ARE not biologically attuned to being committed fathers.  Left culturally unregulated, men’s sexual behaviour can be promiscuous, their paternity casual, their commitment to families weak.  In recognition of this, cultures have used sanctions to bind men to their children, and of course the institution of marriage has been culture’s chief vehicle.”

Why did Prof. Popenoe find it necessary to single out men for their tendency to be promiscuous? Is it not true that the need for “sanctions to bind men to their children” within the institution of marriage applies just the same to women?  Else, why is it that women have children out of wedlock and by men not part of their marriage, or have children by many different men?  Promiscuity it not an exclusive male domain.  The effect of promiscuity on children is just as devastating if the mother is promiscuous without having her sexuality regulated by marriage.  Men and women are as equally likely to be promiscuous as they are equally likely to be violent.  Both men and women are members of the same species.  It took the institution of marriage to bring about the civilizing of the human race.  That brought order into chaos.  Will the reverse not happen if our families are being destroyed?  It seems to me that Prof. Popenoe made a very good case for the family.  Let’s hope that we will hear more of his views, but, let’s hope also that he’ll hold back a bit on the male-bashing.

Sincerely,

Walter H. Schneider
P.O. Box 62
Bruderheim, Alberta, Canada
T0B 0S0
Tel: (780) 796-2306

Fatherhood.

The Proper Role for Mental Health Professionals in Domestic Violence Cases and Attorneys Suspended for Ethical Violations

In Activism, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on May 21, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Once again Barry Goldstein is on the campaign trails to discredit Parental Alienation. A recent article tries to discredit mental health professional who diagnose Parental Alienation Syndrome in family court.  As we all know the suspension of licenses can be a political matter both with attorneys and mental health professionals.  But in the state of California, Parental Alienation by parents is a recognized fact of children’s existence.

Goldstein who was suspended by the New York State bar for ethical violations is now on the book writing trail. Rather than protecting children’s rights to constant contact with both parents as EVERY mental health professional knows to be correct and proper, Mr. Goldstein is out to destroy and discredit Parental Alienation as part of the “male supremacist agenda” and clearly demonstrates a bias against men in family court, as most feminist attorney do.

Goldstein is sort of like VP Joe Biden, who is proud?? of the fact that VAWA is his greatest accomplishment, and like Biden, he is completely oblivious to the fact that 40,000,000 million children are now cut off from their 25,000,000 fathers.  Unfortunately, there is too much money in discrimination and like the Jim Crow laws of the bygone south, VAWA has taken its place alongside our country’s love affair with creating laws that unconstitutionally discriminate, imprison, and denigrate  a class of people, in this case men.

Here is Glenn Sack’s article from last year lest we forget the Lost Children to Parental Alienation:

Court Delivers Devastating Blow to Leading Feminist Attorney Barry Goldstein

January 8th, 2009 by Glenn Sacks, MA, Executive Director

Los Angeles, CA–Few family law cases are as heartbreaking as those involving Parental Alienation, where one parent has turned his or her children against the other parent, destroying the loving bonds the children and the target parent once enjoyed. Many of my readers have experienced it in various forms and to varying degrees.

Feminist groups, including the National Organization for Women, contend that Parental Alienation is a myth and a ruse used by abusive fathers to win control of their children in custody cases. To pick one example of many, Helen Grieco, until recently the Executive Director of California NOW, calls Parental Alienation Syndrome…..

(I have never denied that there are fathers who have alienated their own children through their abuse or personality defects, and who attempt to shift the blame to their children’s mothers by falsely claiming PAS. Yet parental alienation is a common, well-documented phenomenon. For example, a longitudinal study published by the American Bar Association in 2003 followed 700 “high conflict” divorce cases over a 12 year period and found that elements of PAS were present in the vast majority of the cases studied.)

Feminist attorney Barry Goldstein, Esq. of New York has been one of the leading advocates for this position, and was the primary attorney in the highly-publicized Genia Shockome case in New York. Shockome, lost custody of her two children, now ages 13 and 11, to her ex-husband, Tim Shockome after a contentious custody battle in which Genia accused Tim of abuse. The Shockome case was widely reported, including this sympathetic article in Newsweek magazine, and Shockome was a popular feminist cause celebre a few years ago.

Goldstein (pictured in a suit & tie alongside Shockome) has worked with or been a member of many if not most of the organizations seeking to discredit Parental Alienation and the fatherhood movement.  He has practiced law in New York for almost three decades, has authored a book on custody cases involving allegations of domestic violence, and is scheduled to speak at the annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference next week.

Last week Barry Goldstein, Esq. had his head handed to him.

The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department imposed a staggering five-year suspension of Goldstein in large part for his conduct in the Shockome case. The Court called numerous statements Goldstein made concerning the Shockome case “dishonest, false, or misleading.” The Court also criticized Goldstein for misuse of funds in another case he handled.

Regarding the Shockome case, the Court criticized what it called the “pervasive nature of [Goldstein’s] deceptive conduct”–conduct which it said included “false accusations” about the case and “noncompliance with multiple court orders.” The Court wrote:

On behalf of his client [Genia Shockome], he prepared and filed with this Court a petition for writ of habeas corpus and a petition in a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78. These materials contained sworn statements which were dishonest, false, or misleading.

To learn more, see Georgetown Law Center Ethics Counsel Michael S. Frisch’s write-up here. To read the Court’s decision itself, click here.

Goldstein’s fall is a tremendous embarrassment to many of our opponents in the battle to achieve shared parenting, reform family law, and protect children’s right to a relationship with both parents after divorce. These include: the New York state chapter of the National Organization for Women; Justice for Children; The Battered Mothers Custody Conference; Stop Family Violence; The Leadership Council; and others.

Of far less significance but still worth noting, the Court’s ruling further vindicates my position on the Shockome case–a position for which I was publicly crucified by our feminist opponents. This vindication is nice but not necessary–while Genia’s publicly-stated version of the case seemed superficially compelling, anybody taking a good look at the court records in the case as I did would come to similar conclusions.

One of Goldstein’s statements that the New York Court cited in disciplining him is his public contention that in the Shockome case “Without an evidentiary hearing or any written explanation, Judge Amodeo took the children from the mother who has raised them and sent them to the abuser.” This is false–Judge Amodeo actually bent over backwards to be fair to Shockome, who lost her children to her ex-husband only after repeatedly violating court orders. Moreover, there was no evidence that the ex-husband was an “abuser,” and the Court specifically repudiated this accusation.

I discussed the details of the Shockome case at length in my co-authored Shockome Syndrome. As I’ve noted on several occasions, the major feminist cause celebre custody cases of the past few years have been scams–Genia Shockome, Sadia Loeliger, Bridget Marks, and others.

The latest feminist cause celebre is the Holly Collins parental abduction case. The mother’s version of events in this case is also problematic.

My findings on Shockome can be found here.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 4:59 pm and is filed under Domestic Violence, False Accusations, Family Law/Divorce/Separation/Child Custody, Feminism/NOW. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Alec Baldwin is not Alone: Basement Psychologists can get away with murdering innocent minds… and filling them with lies and ugly thoughts…

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation on February 17, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Basement Psychologists can get away with murdering innocent minds… and filling them with lies and ugly thoughts…

In June it will be four years since Athena’s last ‘visitation’ with her father. We made a ‘legacy video’ that time. I asked Athena questions and she answered them. I still have the video. We laughed and talked and she held our dog close to her face telling the camera that Gracie was her favorite pet. Little did we know that months later she would be sitting in the basement of a quack psychologist’s home, drawing a picture on the white board of our family and dog, begging in her own subconscience mind to be rescued from what was about to happen. Hypnosis followed… then stronger drugs…. brainwashing… bribery… and then she began accusing her father of molesting her from age 3 to 13. Today we are without a bank account because of the fight to save her. The fight was fruitless. Parental alienation is nasty, and if you are not a public figure with lots of money like Alec Baldwin… forget it. It’s just a story you tell. A sad, true story.

Alec Baldwin is not Alone: Basement Psychologists can get away with murdering innocent minds… and filling them with lies and ugly thoughts….

Australian Dads ‘not entitled to shared parenting’ | Herald Sun

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, parental rights, Parents rights on January 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm

SEPARATED fathers are not entitled to a 50-50 time split with their children, and legislation introduced by the Howard government in 2006 should be amended to make that clear, a report says.

A 300-report by retired family court judge Richard Chisholm recommends five changes to the so-called “shared parenting” law, which he described as a “tangle” that had taken the focus off “what is best for the children,” The Australian reports.

The hotly anticipated Chisholm report, which was ordered by Attorney-General Robert McClelland after the shocking death of Melbourne girl Darcey Freeman, who was thrown to her death from the West Gate Bridge last year, says the shared parenting law has made it difficult for women to raise allegations of violence in the Family Court system.

A separate, 1000-page report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, also released this afternoon, says the majority of lawyers now believe that the 2006 reforms favour fathers over mothers, and parents over children.

The two reports into shared parenting – plus a third report, by the Family Law Council – were released simultaneously by Mr McClelland this afternoon.

Mr McClelland said the Government would review all reports before making changes but agreed that a false idea had taken hold in the community that fathers were entitled to a 50-50 time split.

“How we address that is what we’ve now got to decide,” he said.

Read more about the released reports at The Australian.

Dads ‘not entitled to shared parenting’ | Herald Sun.

How to Address The Denial Of A Parent’s Court Ordered Access, Visitation, and/or Parental Rights | eHow.com

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Brainwashed Children, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on January 26, 2010 at 11:28 pm

How to Address The Denial Of A Parent’s Court Ordered Access, Visitation, and/or Parental Rights

georgemccasland Member

By George McCasland
User-Submitted Article

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The US Dept. of Health & Human Services conducted a study on this titled “The Survey of Absentee Parents”. The results showed that 60% of the fathers needed to file for enforcement of their court orders within six months of receiving it, and that within five years, lost all contact with the children due to frustration with the lack of help from the courts. This is why it’s so important to learn what you can be doing.

Part of the problem with getting visitation enforced is knowing what to do to prove your case.

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Daily Journal
  • Chronological Statement
  1. Step 1

    See linked article on “How to Put Together Evidence of Denial of Visitation/Access in Violation of a Court Order”.

  2. Step 2

    It’s most important that you keep a DAILY JOURNAL (see linked article) of all your activities, including any contact with the child(ren). There does not need to be any violence for a claim of violence to be filed. She can get a restraining order because she fears him due to her preventing him from seeing her child. A restraining order can be filed up to a year after a supposed event in many states. With the journal, you can look back and see what you were doing that day and who were witnesses to it, such as being 30 miles away, as was the case with one father.

    He was helping to remove a tree out of the roof of a neighbor’s house. Five months later, the mother claimed that on that night, she had shot out her car windows, and had a police report to prove it. She also claimed he bragged about it. With the Journal, he was able to produce witnesses at the Restraining Order Hearing to show she was lying. However, there’s a drawback to this. In my 20 years of experience, when the mother is unsuccessful in a false allegation of domestic violence, within two years she will progress to child abuse and/or child sexual abuse allegations.

  3. Step 3

    See linked article on Recording Conversations. Remember, you can’t just record, you also have to transcribe the conversations your daily journal.

  4. Step 4

    Take note here that in some states, denial of court order visitation is treated the same as Interference With Custody or Parental Abduction. Though Prosecuting Attorneys usually refuse to enforce the law, getting a police report can help as evidence. In Missouri, the law is RSMO 565.156 §5

  5. Step 5

    If there’s an intent to deny access, prepare a “Notice of Intent to Exercise Visitation” letter stating the specific dates as laid out in your order. Add to this a “Notice of Intent to Exercise Parental Rights” in the same legal format of your other court papers. Sign both and make six copies. See links below for examples.

  6. Step 6

    Mail the originals “CERTIFIED MAIL” and another set with just “DELIVERY CONFIRMATION” (75¢ + postage). If she rejects the Certified Letter, she will still receive the letter with Delivery Confirmation. Remember that these are two different type of mail. To get a Confirmation of Delivery printout, go to the USPS web site at the link below.

  7. Step 7

    If the Certified letter or the Certified Letter Confirmation of Delivery Card, with her signature on it come back, attach either (letter unopened) to a copy of the “Notice of Intent to Exercise Visitation” letter and “Notice of Intent to Exercise Parental Rights”, plus the printout of the Delivery Confirmation from USPS. Take these documents to the County Courthouse and have the Clerk of the Court notarize and them place them in your case file. It’s very important that you repeat this process each time you are to exercise your visitation until either she obeys the orders or you go to court on it. This file gets read by the judge before any hearing, so he will see your effort to resolve this issue without involving the court.

    File the remaining copies for future use.

  8. Step 8

    Repeat process for each time you are to exercise your visitation until she either obeys the orders or you go to court on it.

  9. Step 9

    If the other parent continues to deny you access, you need to decide if you want to use an attorney or go Propria Persona (Pro Se) in taking an enforcement action to the courts. If you wish to use an attorney, you need to take the time to interview several attorneys before picking the one to work with (See linked article on how to do this). Prepare a Chronological Statement (see linked article in preparing one) expressing a history from the time you met her up until this need for action.

  10. Step 10

    A common complain in dealing with these action in court is a claim of bias on the part of the judge. To address any potential of this it is best to use Court Watchers, which are person who are there to witness the proceedings, and not to give testimony. Aside from friends, contact the high school or college about students from government class getting credit for attending the hearing. Each should be equipped with a hard tablet, pen, and a Court Evaluation Form (see link below). They should not sit together in a group, being spread out in the gallery.

  11. Step 11

    If you decide to represent yourself in court, check with your Clerk of the Court for forms for filing an enforcement action. If they do not have one specific for visitation, the ones for child support will work as a template. You need to produce a “Notice of Exercise of Parental Rights” See link for example), filing with the court and having the judge sign it. Serve or have it served on the other parent, depending on the requirements of your state. In Kansas, it can be sent Certified Mail.

  12. Step 12

    For more extensive advice specific to your case, see Dads House Educational Group for association with other dealing with this situation.

  13. Step 13

    Produce a “Notice of the Court of Denial of Exercise of Parental Rights” and “Motion to Show Cause for Contempt of Court of Denial of Visitation” (see links below) for filing with the court.

    Note: This is where it can get complicate in what choices you wish to make. If held in Contempt of Court, this is consider a “CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES”, which is grounds for a Change in the Custody Arrangements. You or your attorney needs to have a Motion for Change of Custody ready to hand the judge (see article on custody changes).

//

Tips & Warnings
  • For Extensive advice on this, and association with others dealing in it, see Dads House in Yahoo! Groups. It’s Free. See link below
  • In states like Missouri, you can file to have child support put on hold, not stopped, until action is taken to address denial of access.
  • A common claim is that the kids won’t come, but that is likely to be a symptom of Parental Alienation Syndrome, so don’t think this is a rejection of you. Just make note of it. Do not ask for the children to say it to you directly.

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How to Address The Denial Of A Parent’s Court Ordered Access, Visitation, and/or Parental Rights | eHow.com.

Fathers-4-Justice Sault Ste. Marie: Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Brainwashed Children, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, Fit Parent, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, Michael Murphy, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting on January 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry

Many men will attest to have seen a bias by CAS Protective Workers who are, it would appear, 95% female and some stridently feminist in their ideology. I can certainly speak to it, and can also say the local Algoma CAS and its sister organization Algoma Family Services, who deal with child mental health issues, have both shown me they care little about fathers. In one case a worker completely ignored my requests for help on the telephone and declared a conflict of interest so she could get out of providing service to me. I went over her head and finally got a supervisor to do her job.MJM

By Susan Longley


Please note concerns regarding  upcoming Ontario conference. (see OACAS web site).

A frightening trend in North American child welfare practice  is the growing alliance between child welfare services and those promoting anti violence against women (i.e. VAW sector).

This alliance has resulted in an increased denigration of male parents and general deterioration in efforts to address the best interests of children. The deeply rooted gender biased ideology of the latter sector remains deeply troubling and in complete  contradiction to male parents attempts to engage with child welfare services involved with their  children. This concern needs to be urgently addressed, partly to maintain service integrity but also to maintain an ethical stance towards families in general.

Male parents are frequently already marginalized from participating in services for their children. There is now an  increased propensity to isolate men even more so from their children’s lives. There remains a blatant contradiction between child welfare services who adopt the polemic and platitudes of the VAW sector. The child welfare mandate remains to enhance family life VAW sector is completely contradictory and opposed to such values.

It has become recently popular for child welfare services and VAW services to adopt certain kinds of inter agency protocols. These protocols are an embarrassment to child welfare practice in Canada. Blatantly unprofessional and academically dishonest theses protocols reflect misandric nonsense rather than legitimate protocol. These so called protocols must be abandoned and exposed for what they are. There are least two CASs in the Toronto region (see Peel CAS protocol with VAW sector)) have adopted such protocols. These agencies are allegedly family service agencies with no endorsement to promote such anti male rhetoric.

A review of these protocols disclose an incredulous gender bias which can only be described as sexism of the worst order. These professionally distasteful protocols are  written in total sympathy with VAW expectations with no accountability to the general public or their respective agency mandates. They contradict not only good social work practice but remain contradictory  to ethical guidelines established by their governing body  OASW.

These so-called protocols allege to address issues related to inter agency service provision and cooperation between public agencies but are in fact nothing more than an ideological treatise intended to alienate men further from appropriate child welfare practice.

These protocols refuse to acknowledges domestic violence in families other than that of men against women. Women remain the perpetual victim and men always the perpetrator. Any mention of domestic violence refuses to acknowledge  women ‘s violence against men. Programmes sponsored by child welfare services for children exposed to domestic violence ultimately define the perpetrator as male.

These protocols never hold women accountable for any acts of child abuse or inter personal violence. The identification of child abuse only mentioned in regard to men.  Any child welfare programmes delivered to “children exposed to family violence” refer to men only. Women are never identified as initiators of any domestic violence even when a so-called family agency is involved.

The suggestion that women may make false complaints regarding domestic violence in order to gain an upper hand on custody and access matters is not acknowledged. That women may fabricate or even lie is considered anathema.  The fact that women account for the majority of child abuse in not even mentioned. That VAW services and child welfare services advocate becoming increasingly involved in controversial custody and access matters remains extremely repugnant. The suggestion that child welfare services become more intrusive regarding access arrangements between children and their fathers is an outright abomination.

Please find a copy of a recent letter sent to Jeanette Lewis, Director of  the provincial OACAS (see web site) outlining my concerns regarding an anticipated conference involving Provincial Child Welfare Services and Violence Against Women Services. The purported agenda is to build understanding and cooperation between the two sectors. My cynical view, as previously suggested, indicates an alternate agenda. The VAW sector is given a further opportunity to impose a particular ideological gender politic on child welfare services.

“I notice with trepidation an anticipated 2010 Toronto conference co sponsored by Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies , The Ontario Women’s Directorate and various Violence Against Women programmes. The theme of the conference being the “Intersection of Women Abuse and Child Welfare Services.”

I was immediately troubled by the tone and wording of the conference details included in the call for papers especially given the propensity for child welfare services in Ontario and in general North America, to adopt a value preference embracing the practice of a certain feminist political and ideological agenda. A social work practice that has increasingly marginalized services to men and boys and a priori assumptions regarding male perpetrators and female victims.

I have outlined a few  of my concerns.
As many researchers have pointed out gender feminist theory has its limitations and family service agencies in particular must always be ethically accountable in providing services to both men and women especially where “best interests” of children are involved. One can already anticipate the usual presenters invited to provide discourse at such matters. It would be extremely naive to expect genuine debate or rational presentation between the sectors involved.  I will assume the usual feminist rhetoric and platitudes will rule the day.

Some academic  integrity needs to be maintained  and that the conference must reject any ideological and gender biased, misandric unbalanced research which has tended to place a certain anti male spin on issues related to woman abuse, child custody and other such politically charged issues.

There has been a long term feminist advocacy in this province (highlighted in proposals of the provincial domestic violence death review  panel and its recommendations ) to have child welfare services acquiesce to the values and political ideology of the violence against women sector.

This is viewed by many as a regressive and extremely ill advised road to go down. It is appears regressive for child welfare services in general, especially since their services have already become suspect for aligning themselves with principles that reject a family orientation and men in particular. Any child welfare services must be dispensed with fairness and remain gender neutral in practice.

I am concerned that any dialogue between CAS and VAW sectors becomes a mere “smoke screen” for advocating CAS become more feminized in their social work practice at the expense of academic and social work integrity. Not that the two sectors cannot collaborate on occasion and cooperate when appropriate in providing in shared client advocacy.


It seems vital and important to acknowledge the value differences between the two sectors and reject the propensity to gloss over the obvious political and ideological conflicts. It is imperative that these conflicts be clearly acknowledged and identified. This remains especially so in reference to mutual  protocols regarding advocacy and support of woman’s issues especially those issues related to custody access and the interaction between service providers regarding male clients and families in general .  It appears to me that the mandates of  the two sectors are severely different and are grounded in often opposed ideological principals. Just a few issues regarding the two sectors come to mind.

Definitions of Abuse and Victimization:

More stringent definition of abuse and victimization in general are required by both sectors. The CAS social workers remain accountable not only to the clients, the best interest of the child but also the court system especially when wards of the court are involved. What is considered abuse in the VAW sector cannot always be validated in the CAS sector.


CAS are obliged to involve male fathers and partners regardless if they have been identified as so called perpetrators or offenders.

Validation

The feminist principle of “validating” the “stories” of violence against women and children has always been troublesome for social workers in the CAS sector. Not to deny supportive advocacy for all clients (a basic social work value)  CAS social workers have always had to depend on not only “clients narratives” but also collaboration efforts to seek alternate sources of  information. The VAW sector do not require such gender neutral language of exploration and context for service. It appears that a higher standard of accountability and transparency is required.

Gender Bias / Male Clients and Partners:

Gender biased practice has been generally the order of the day. Given the long history of feminist advocacy many would argue that CAS have acquiesced far to willingly to certain  feminist theory at the expense of gender neutral practice. This must be recognised and the matter dealt with in an honest and forthright manner. Children’s best interest require addressing issues with both parents where possible.

CAS social workers when in court regarding children’s interests must prove that they have attempted involved both parents (and even other partners as defined as parents ) Fathers and or partners in a parenting role can never be ignored in CAS social work. The issues regarding custody and access assessments during divorce remains a highly contentious one, as do the issues related to counselling of couples where violence has occurred. Protocols regarding children’s access to both parents where domestic violence is disputed also remains highly contentious. These issues must be debated within the reality of both male and female experience.

Academic Research and Domestic Violence Findings:

The academic literature regarding domestic violence has and continues to be long dominated by a certain type of feminist ideology and both the  CAS and VAW sectors have been very much influenced in their practice by certain political views. This must change. The literature is much more divergent in findings and recommendations for practice than previously acknowledged. This is particularly so when discussing woman abuse and domestic violence. The divergent literature has always been available but to many practitioners who accepted certain dissident views were quickly rejected ostracized or threatened.

A modest appeal to Richard Gelles article January 2007 Family Court Review sums up these concerns regarding academic integrity with succinct clarity. Need I mention Don Dutton’s “Rethinking Domestic Violence.”


These are some of my concerns regarding the two sectors having authentic dialogue. This can only be achieved with honesty and respect. Some would also claim an appeal to rational discourse mixed with a modicum of intellectual integrity can also help.

Regards Susan

Fathers-4-Justice Sault Ste. Marie: Ontario Children’s Aid and Misandry.

Parental Rights Needs Help in Your State

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parents rights on January 14, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Parental Rights Needs Help in Your State

It is January, and that means State legislatures are (or soon will be) gearing up again. Several of these State bodies will be considering resolutions calling on the U.S. Congress to pass the Parental Rights Amendment to the States for ratification.

A few states which will or may introduce such resolutions include California, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia. ParentalRights.org stands ready to supply sample wording and other resources for any state that may wish to consider such a measure.

As a result, we would like to urge you this week to investigate your state legislature. Here’s all we’d ask you to do:

Action Item

  • Visit our States Watch page and click on your State to see if a parental rights resolution has already been introduced in your legislature. (As of this email, only Virginia and Hawaii are definites.)
  • Visit your state legislature’s website to find and write down the contact information for your state lawmakers.
  • If there is already a resolution in your state, contact your lawmakers and urge them to support that resolution for the sake of parents, families, and the rights of your particular state.
  • If there is not already a resolution in your state, contact your lawmakers and urge them to champion such a resolution. Tell them ParentalRights.org would welcome contact from them, and we would be happy to provide them with sample language from which such a resolution can be written. You might even offer to contact us on their behalf and get that information for them!
  • Remember to follow up in a couple of weeks to make sure your efforts are moving things forward. Many state legislatures won’t be convened for long, so time is of the essence.
Join the Network

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To date we have 129 cosponsors in the U.S. House and 6 cosponsors in the U.S. Senate.

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The Tieton Truth Seekers: Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on January 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation

Stage 3 – A Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation Syndrome

The Honorable Judge Gomery of Canada stated, “Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child. It has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child.”

A Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation Syndrome
Severe

In severe PAS the child is often fanatic or obsessional in his/her hatred of the target parent. For this reason alone the PAS-inducing parent no longer needs to be active, although the PAS–inducing parent will resort to anything to prevent the child maintaining a relationship with the targeted parent. The child takes on the PAS-inducing parent’s desires, emotions and hatreds and verbalises them all as its own. The child views the history of the targeted parent and the targeted parent’s family as all negative and is unable to either remember or express any positive feelings for the target parent.

The child is very likely to refuse Contact, make false allegations of abuse, threaten to run away, threaten to commit suicide or even murder – if forced to see the targeted parent. The PAS-inducing parent will hold little or no value for the targeted parent and hatred may be completely overt. The child and the alienating parent have a pathological bond that is invariably based on shared paranoid fantasies of the targeted parent, sometimes to the point of folie a deux.

What Does a Severely Alienated Child look like?

They have a relentless hatred for towards the targeted parent.
They parrot the Obsessed Alienator.
The child does not want to visit or spend any time with the targeted parent.
Many of the child’s beliefs are enmeshed with the alienator.
The beliefs are delusional and frequently irrational.
They are not intimidated by the court.

Frequently, their reasons are not based on personal experiences with the targeted parent but reflect what they are told by the Obsessed Alienator.

They have difficulty making any differentiate between the two.
The child has no ambivalence in his feelings; it’s all hatred with no ability to see the good.

They have no capacity to feel guilty about how they behave towards the targeted parent or forgive any past indiscretions.
They share the Obsessed Alienators cause. Together, they are in lockstep to denigrate the hated parent.
The children’s obsessional hatred extends to the targeted parent’s extended family without any guilt or remorse.
They can appear like normal healthy children until asked about the targeted parent that triggers their hatred.
Children in the severe category are generally quite disturbed and are usually fanatic. They join together with their alienating parent in a folie à deux relationship in which they share her paranoid fantasies about the alienated parent. All eight of the primary symptomatic manifestations are likely to be present to a significant degree, even more prominent than in the moderate category.

Children in this category may become panic-stricken over the prospect of visiting with their alienated parent. Their blood-curdling shrieks, panicked states, and rage outbursts may be so severe that visitation is impossible.

If placed in the alienated parent’s home they may run away, become paralyzed with morbid fear, or may become so continuously provocative and so destructive that removal becomes necessary. Unlike children in the moderate and mild categories, their panic and hostility may not be reduced in the alienated parent’s home, even when separated from their alienating parents for significant periods. Whereas in the mild and moderate categories the children’s primary motive is to strengthen the stronger, healthy psychological bond with the alienating parent, in the severe category the psychological bond with the alienating parent is pathological (often paranoid) and the symptoms serve to strengthen this pathological bond.

The Tieton Truth Seekers: Severely Alienated Child of Parental Alienation.

More Hate from the Anononymums

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parents rights on December 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm

This is the only post we have seen expressing HATRED for the fact that a little boy was reunited with the father. Of course, the writer of the hate piece is none other than claudine dombrowski, who does not believe Parental Alienation is real.

Typical behavior from someone with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Notice she only focuses on the “best interest of the woman”, no mention of the child.  Poor battered me.

I am sure that the remaining dozen hate sites will pick up her post and repost it in a typical “Sybil attack.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Media Bias — the Sean Goldman Brazil abduction stories -justice’s posterous

The New York Times and Rep. Chris Smith say: “The boy was taken to Brazil in 2004 by the woman who was Mr. Goldman’s wife at the time…” So much for throwing the parent card. That wasn’t “the woman who was Mr. Goldman’s wife”.  That was the little boy’s MOTHER, who bore this child, and who took him home, away from the New Jersey she hated, and into the bosom of her extended family, where she herself had grown up. The Goldmans did not meet and commence their relationship in New Jersey.  They only married and settled there once Bruna already was pregnant with Sean. Had Goldman been reasonable and allowed the child’s mother to go home as she had begged to do, and to retain custody of the baby she risked her life to bring into the world, he would not have a complaint now about having been cut off. But selfishly, he did not do that.

“…relatives of Mr. Goldman’s ex-wife, who died last year, were exploring legal options that would enable them to keep Sean…” Once again, “ex-wife” is used instead of “mother”. Motherhood is invisible. The relatives are described as if they are strangers, rather than the beloved family members and home this child understandably does not want to leave. They include blood relatives of the child, with whom he has lived for nearly his entire childhood memory with his mother, who recently — ironically — died in childbirth.

Pandering Rep. Smith has called David Goldman the “primary caregiver” and the child’s “best friend”, again ignoring the woman who gave birth to the child and actually was the child’s closest attachment. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/world/americas/23rio.html

Is the situation painful and difficult? Of course. But propaganda does not help. While the U.S. press and politicos condemn Bruna for bringing her baby with her to Brazil, and now also condemn the boy’s real emotional family for wanting to protect him, the same media ignore that what the father seeks to do to this child who just lost his mother is exponentially worse. Notwithstanding the ignorant peanut galleries who chime along in favor of men’s rights to declare where their chattel women and the children they bear must reside, mothers of children who are abducted from them don’t seem to get Congressional Resolutions or incessant international media coverage. That apparently is reserved mainly for mothers AS abductors. The expedient application of a faux gender neutrality to parentage primarily for the benefit of fathers’ rights is Orwellian.

Technorati Tags: Bias,Sean,Goldman,Brazil,abduction,justice,York,Times,Chris,Smith,woman,wife,parent,card,MOTHER,Jersey,Goldmans,relationship,Bruna,custody,life,world,complaint,Once,memory,David,friend,attachment,situation,propaganda,father,rights,children,Congressional,coverage,gender,parentage,Orwellian,options,strangers,members,galleries,fathers

Posted by Claudine Dombrowski at 8:52 PM

Parental Alienation: Not in the best interest of the children by Douglas Darnall

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on December 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm

NORTH DAKOTA LAW REVIEW, Volume 75, 1999, p 323-364

PARENTAL ALIENATION: NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN

by Douglas Darnall

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Douglas Darnall is a practicing licensed psychologist and the CEO of PsyCare, Inc., an outpatient psychiatric clinic in Youngstown, Ohio. He is the author of DIVORCE CASUALTIES: PROTECTING YOUR CHILDREN FROM PARENTAL ALIENATION (Taylor Publishing Company, 1998). In the following essay, Dr. Darnall, drawing largely from his book, discusses how attorneys and judges can serve clients by recognizing, dealing with, and seeking to stop and prevent parental alienation. Because the essay is based largely on Dr. Darnall’s book and because he is not a legal or academic professional, a bibliography of sources employed in his book appears at the end of the essay instead of traditional footnotes.

I. INTRODUCTION

During the crisis of divorce, most parents fear whether their children will emerge unscathed. Any reasonable and empathetic parent sincerely believes in the value of his or her children having a healthy relationship with both parents. Ideally, parents deliberately work on comforting and reassuring the children that no harm will come to them. At the same time, both try to strengthen their parent-child relationships without degrading the other parent or causing the children to feel divided loyalty. They encourage visits, talk kindly of the other parent in the children’s presence, and set aside their own negative feelings to avoid causing the children distress. They are sensitive to the children’s needs and encourage positive feelings toward the other parent. This outcome is the goal of not only the parents and children, but also the attorneys and judge involved in the case.

However, any number of events can destroy the fragile balance of peace between parents. If this happens, an injured parent may seek comfort by aligning with the children, especially since be or she may feel threatened by the children’s love for the other parent. A pattern of alienation usually begins without any malicious or conscious intent to harm or destroy the relationship between the other parent and the children. Though most parents mean well, they are often unaware of how subtle behaviors and comments can hurt the relationship between the children and the targeted parent. In effect, alienation can occur in even the friendliest of divorces.

In unfriendly divorces, the effects are predictable. Custody litigation or struggles for parenting time creates unavoidable competition between parents. Children feel pulled in many directions as long as both parents want custody or feel they must fight for their fair share of time. Afraid of losing custody, a parent may feel an urgency to align with the children to help ensure victory. The other parent may retaliate with an insurgence of passion for winning their cause. They may have difficulty accepting that they must compete against each other to prove to the court that making them the custodial parent is in the children’s best interest. The struggle between two passionate parents is a byproduct of modern-day divorce, and it sets the stage for alienation.

Alienation will continue as long as divorces — and custody battles — continue to increase at alarming rates. More fathers are becoming more comfortable in a nurturing and caretaking role and no longer adhere to the belief that they are genetically predisposed to be the inferior parent, and as a result they are seeking and being granted custody. Therefore, courts no longer automatically assume children are better off living with their mother. Meanwhile, mothers are realizing that the all-American dream of marriage, a home, and children is not a guarantee of emotional fulfillment. Many women now want an identity in both the workplace and the home. The high costs of living and supporting a family force women to work outside the home even when their children are very young. Consequently, women can no longer argue for custody because of an inherent birthright or ability to care for the children at home.

After the attorneys are gone and the case is closed, the parents must somehow pick up the pieces and establish a working relationship for the children’s best interest. The issue for attorneys and the court is what they see as their role and responsibility for setting the stage in helping families to repair damaged relationships. Attorneys who take an active role in educating clients about parental alienation, parental alienation syndrome and where to get help if needed can help families get on with their lives with some semblance of harmony. While attorneys and judges should not become therapists, they can help set the stage for parents to work together in harmony by educating divorcing parents during litigation about parental alienation and how such behavior impacts the children.

To read more.

Parental Alienation: Not in the best interest of the children by Douglas Darnall.

Misperceptions vs Facts about Ricahrd A Gardner and Parental Alienation Syndrome – June 19, 1999

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on December 19, 2009 at 5:45 am

The dozens or so follows of the “pig pen”  use slander and libel in their campaign of hatred against children and their rights, particularly their attack on Dr. Richard A. Garder, the man who did not invent parental alienation. He just coined the term Parental Alienation Syndrdome.  Dr. Garnder set the record straight many years ago.

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS

This document has been prepared to provide corrections for certain misrepresentations and misperceptions of some of my contributions. There have been unfortunate misinterpretations of some of my positions on a variety of issues.  Some of these originated from conflicts in the legal arena, where attorneys frequently select out-of-context material in order to enhance their positions in a court of law.  This is the nature of the adversary system, and it is one of the causes of the controversy that sometimes surround my contributions. Some of these misperceptions and misrepresentations have become so widespread that I considered it judicious to formulate this statement.
Misperception: Dr. Richard Gardner is biased against women

Fact: This cannot be reasonably substantiated by anything I have ever written, lectured on, or testified to in a court of law.  With regard to the alleged gender bias associated with the parental alienation syndrome, the facts are that I will generally recommend that PAS-inducing mothers in both the mild and moderate categories retain primary custody. When PAS is severe, or rapidly approaching the severe level, and the mother is the primary promulgator, then I recommend a change of custody.  But this represents only a small percentage of cases.  And these are exactly the recommendations I make in my book The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).

Misperception: Dr. Gardner is an advocate for Men’s Rights’ Groups

Fact: I have never been a member of any Men’s Rights’ Groups.  In fact, I have never been a member of any advocacy group whatsoever.  Many men in men’s rights groups are very pleased with me because I played an important role in bringing to public attention the false sex-abuse accusation in the context of child-custody disputes and testified in support of innocent men in this category.  However, in the same groups are many men who are critical of me because they claim I do not generally recommend custodial change for mothers who have induced mild and moderate levels of PAS in their children.  As mentioned, I generally reserve such a recommendation for the relatively small percentage of mothers who have produced very formidable levels of moderate PAS and/or severe levels of PAS.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner testifies predominantly in support of men

Fact: There is absolutely no basis for this myth.  I have testified on behalf of women who have been victimized by PAS-inducing husbands, and I have testified on behalf of men whose wives are PAS inducers.  In fact, in the last few years, the number of PAS-inducing men against whom I have testified has increased formidably, to the point where I see the ratio now to be about 50/50.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner is a hired gun

Fact: When I agree to involve myself in a custody litigation there is a three-step process that each prospective client must take.  First, every attempt must be made to involve me as the court’s independent examiner.  If this fails I may be willing, after some exploration of the case, to be recognized as the inviting party’s expert, but I make no promises beforehand that I will support that party’s position.  I require the inviting party to sign a document in which he (she) agrees to pay my fees, and even for my testimony, if I ultimately decide that the opposing party warrants my support.  There have been cases when in the course of my evaluation I have concluded that the opposing party’s position is the more compelling one, and I have ultimately testified on that party’s behalf.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s publications are not peer reviewed

Fact: I have published approximately 150 articles of which approximately 85 have been in peer review journals.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner has his own publishing company, Creative
Therapeutics, Inc., and publishes all his books through his own
company

Fact: I do own Creative Therapeutics, Inc., and since 1978 I have published most (but not all) of my books through Creative Therapeutics.  The implication is that Creative Therapeutics is some kind of a vanity press and that if not for it, I could not find publishers for my books.  The facts are that between 1960 and 1968 I published books with the following other publishers: Bantam Books—4, Jason Aronson, Inc.—6, Avon Books—1, Doubleday—1, Prentice-Hall—2, G. P. Putnam’s—1.  Furthermore, Creative Therapeutics has not published any of the multiple foreign translations of my books.  In 1991 Bantam published the second edition my book, The Parents Book About Divorce.  Furthermore, I periodically receive invitations from other publishers to write books.  The main reason why, in recent years, I have published through Creative Therapeutics is that I have much more autonomy regarding book size and content, and the returns are more favorable.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner is on the Executive Board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMS Foundation)

Fact: I have never been on this board.  A review of any of their periodicals listing membership will support my statement that I am not included on their Executive Board.  I am certainly sympathetic to the Foundation’s position with regard to the belated accusations of sex abuse by women who have been led by others to believe they were abused in childhood when there is absolutely no evidence for it.  Such sympathy does not preclude my recognition of the fact that bona fide sex abuse is a widespread phenomenon and that there are even women who may have limited recollection of their abuses. I am in agreement with the Foundation’s position that psychotherapy has been oversold to the public, and it is a far less scientific method of treatment than generally believed.  However, I believe that the Foundation’s position on psychotherapy is too stringent and goes to the point that no form of psychotherapy is considered efficacious.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner believes that pedophiles should be granted primary custody of their children

Fact: I consider pedophilia to be a psychiatric disorder, an abominable exploitation of children.  I have never supported a pedophile in his (or her) quest for primary child custody. Because I have testified on behalf of falsely accused defendants, there are some who claim that I am reflexively protective of pedophiles and sympathetic to what they do.  There is absolutely nothing in anything I have ever said or written to support this absurd allegation.  When I conclude in a custody dispute that an accused father has pedophilic tendencies, I will advise the court to provide protection for the children.  I would certainly not recommend primary custody for such a parent.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner supports and is fully sympathetic to the practice of pedophilia

Fact: There is absolutely nothing that I have ever said in any of my lectures, or anything that I have written in any of my publications to support this allegation.  This is my position on pedophilia: I consider pedophilia to be a form of psychiatric disturbance.  Furthermore, I consider those who perpetrate such acts to be exploiting innocent victims with little, if any, sensitivity to the potential effects of their behavior on their child victims.  Many are psychopathic, as evidenced by their inability to project themselves into the position of the children they have seduced, and ignore the potential future consequences on the child of their abominable behavior.
Accordingly, we all need protection from pedophiles.  Jail is certainly a reasonable place to provide us with such protection.  This is especially the case because the vast majority of pedophiles are not going to be cured, or even helped significantly with their problems, by psychotherapy—the assertions of some psychotherapists notwithstanding.  By adulthood the pedophilic orientation has been deeply embedded in the brain circuitry and is not likely to be changed by such a superficial approach as “talk therapy.”  Nor is it likely to be changed to a significant degree by conditioning techniques, i.e., “behavior modification.”  It is as reasonable to believe that one could accomplish this goal as it is to believe that one could change an adult homosexual into a heterosexual and vice versa.
I am also in favor of Megan’s Law, which requires that communities learn about the presence in their midst of pedophiles who have just been released from prison.  I do believe, however, that the same laws should be applied to those who have been convicted of certain other crimes such as rape (which in a sense is similar to pedophilia), murder, arson, and other felonies that present formidable risks to the community.  In short, I have absolutely no sympathy for pedophiles, and the fact that I have testified in courts of law in defense of innocent parties—who have been wrongly accused of pedophilia—does not mean that I am in any way sympathetic to those who actually perpetrate such a heinous crime.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner believes that pedophilia is a good thing for society

Fact: I believe that pedophilia is a bad thing for society.  I do believe, however, that pedophilia, like all other forms of atypical sexuality is part of the human repertoire and that all humans are born with the potential to develop any of the forms of atypical sexuality (which are referred to as paraphilias by DSM-IV).  My acknowledgment that a form of behavior is part of the human potential is not an endorsement of that behavior. Rape, murder, sexual sadism, and sexual harassment are all part of the human potential.  This does not mean I sanction these abominations.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner believes that the vast majority of incestuous sex-abuse accusations are false

Fact: I believe that the vast majority of incestuous sex-abuse accusations are true.  There are other categories of sex-abuse accusations, e.g., accusations against babysitters, clergy, scout masters, teachers, strangers, and accusations in the context of child-custody disputes.  Each category has its own likelihood of being true or false.  It is in the category of child-custody disputes that I believe that the vast majority of accusations are false, and there is support for this belief in the scientific literature.  This category represents only one of many, and although false accusations in child-custody disputes is common practice, this category represents only a small fraction of all groups combined.  When one combines all groups, I hold that the vast majority of sex-abuse accusations are true.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner is in strong support of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA)

Fact: I have never been a member of this organization, and I am opposed to its primary principles.  Adult men who have sex with boys are exploiting them, corrupting them, and contributing to the development of sexual psychopathology in them. NAMBLA’s position is that if the child consents, then the pedophilic act is acceptable and even desirable.  This is a rationalization for depravity.  Children can be seduced into consenting to anything, including murder.  Society needs to protect itself from those who would exploit our children.  Jail is one reasonable place to provide such protection.

Misperception: The PAS is not a syndrome

Fact: There are some who claim that the PAS is not really a syndrome. This criticism is especially seen in courts of law in the context of child-custody disputes. It is an argument sometimes promulgated by those who claim that PAS does not even exist. The PAS is a very specific disorder. A syndrome, by medical definition, is a cluster of symptoms, occurring together, that characterize a specific disease. The symptoms, although seemingly disparate, warrant being grouped together because of a common etiology or basic underlying cause. Furthermore, there is a consistency with regard to such a cluster in that most (if not all) of the symptoms appear together. Accordingly, there is a kind of purity that a syndrome has that may not be seen in other diseases.
For example, a person suffering with pneumococcal pneumonia may have chest pain, cough, purulent sputum, and fever. However, the individual may still have the disease without all these symptoms manifesting themselves. The syndrome is more often “pure” because most (if not all) of the symptoms in the cluster predictably manifest themselves. An example would be Down’s Syndrome, which includes a host of seemingly disparate symptoms that do not appear to have a common link. These include mental retardation, mongoloid-type facial expression, drooping lips, slanting eyes, short fifth finger, and atypical creases in the palms of the hands. There is a consistency here in that the people who suffer with Down’s Syndrome often look very much alike and most typically exhibit all these symptoms. The common etiology of these disparate symptoms relates to a specific chromosomal abnormality. It is this genetic factor that is responsible for linking together these seemingly disparate symptoms. There is then a primary, basic cause of Down’s Syndrome: a genetic abnormality.
Similarly, the PAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that usually appear together in the child, especially in the moderate and severe types. These include:

1. A campaign of denigration
2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
3. Lack of ambivalence
4. The “independent-thinker” phenomenon
5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent

Typically, children who suffer with PAS will exhibit most (if not all) of these symptoms. This is almost uniformly the case for the moderate and severe types. However, in the mild cases one might not see all eight symptoms. When mild cases progress to moderate or severe, it is highly likely that most (if not all) of the symptoms will be present. This consistency results in PAS children resembling one another. It is because of these considerations that the PAS is a relatively “pure” diagnosis that can easily be made. As is true of other syndromes, there is an underlying cause: programming by an alienating parent in conjunction with additional contributions by the programmed child. It is for these reasons that PAS is indeed a syndrome, and it is a syndrome by the best medical definition of the term.

Misperception: PAS does not exist because it’s not in DSM-IV

Fact: There are some, especially adversaries in child-custody disputes, who claim that there is no such entity as the PAS, that it is only a theory, or that it is “Gardner’s theory.” Some claim that I invented the PAS, with the implication that it is merely a figment of my imagination. The main argument given to justify this position is that it does not appear in DSM-IV. The DSM committees justifiably are quite conservative with regard to the inclusion of newly described clinical phenomena and require many years of research and publications before considering inclusion of a disorder.  This is as it should be. The PAS exists! Any lawyer involved in child-custody disputes will attest to that fact. Mental health and legal professionals involved in such disputes are observing it. They may not wish to recognize it. They may refer to it by another name (like “parental alienation”). But that does not preclude its existence. A tree exists as a tree regardless of the reactions of those looking at it. A tree still exists even though some might give it another name. If a dictionary selectively decides to omit the word tree from its compilation of words, that does not mean that the tree does not exist. It only means that the people who wrote that book decided not to include that particular word. Similarly, for someone to look at a tree and say that the tree does not exist does not cause the tree to evaporate. It only indicates that the viewer, for whatever reason, does not wish to see what is right in front of him (her).
To refer to the PAS as “a theory” or “Gardner’s theory” implies the nonexistence of the disorder. It implies that it is a figment of my imagination and has no basis in reality. To say that PAS does not exist because it is not listed in DSM-IV is like saying in 1980 that Lyme Disease did not exist because it was not then listed in standard diagnostic medical textbooks. The PAS is not a theory, it is a fact.
But why this controversy in the first place? With regard to whether PAS exists, we generally do not see such controversy regarding most other clinical entities in psychiatry. Examiners may have different opinions regarding the etiology and treatment of a particular psychiatric disorder, but there is usually some consensus about its existence. And this should especially be the case for a relatively “pure” disorder such as the PAS, a disorder that is easily diagnosable because of the similarity of the children’s symptoms when one compares one family with another. Over the years, I have received many letters from people who have essentially said: “Your PAS book is uncanny. You don’t know me, and yet I felt that I was reading my own family’s biography. You wrote your book before all this trouble started in my family. It’s almost like you predicted what would happen.” Why, then, should there be such controversy over whether or not PAS exists?
One explanation lies in the situation in which the PAS emerges and in which the diagnosis is made: vicious child-custody litigation. Once an issue is brought before a court of law—in the context of adversarial proceedings—it behooves one side to take just the opposite position from the other if one is to prevail in that forum. A parent accused of inducing a PAS in a child is likely to engage the services of a lawyer who may invoke the argument that there is no such thing as a PAS. And if this lawyer can demonstrate that the PAS is not listed in DSM-IV, then the position is considered “proven.” The only thing this proves is that DSM-IV has not yet listed the PAS.
Another factor operative in the controversy relates to the false sex-abuse accusation that is commonly a spin-off of the PAS.  It is such a common problem that there are many who equate PAS with false sex-abuse accusations.  Those who deny the existence of false sex-abuse accusations at the same time frequently deny the existence of the PAS. Therefore, people who claim that the PAS exists may find themselves criticized as individuals who do not believe in the existence of true sex abuse.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner utilizes coercive interview techniques in which he bludgeons children into saying whatever he wants them to

Fact: I make every attempt to videotape my interviews of children alleging sexual abuse.  I have done hundreds of hours of such interviews.  Not once has anybody been able to demonstrate coercive interview techniques in the course of these.   In fact, my interviews are often viewed in another room—via a monitor—by parents, lawyers, mental health professionals, and sometimes the child’s own therapist.  Not once has anybody ever come forth with the complaint that my interviews were coercive, even under circumstances in which the parties were able to interrupt my interview while it was in progress.  The interview tapes are available to both sides and yet not once has an opposing attorney ever taken such a tape and even tried to demonstrate to the court that my interview was coercive.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner has been barred from testimony in many courts of law throughout the United States

Fact: This is pure myth. To date I have testified directly in approximately 30 states and in others via telephone.  I have been testifying since 1960.  Not once has a court of law not recognized me as an expert.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner claims that he is a Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, yet he does very little teaching there

Fact: The implication of this statement is that I am somehow misrepresenting myself.  I have been on the faculty of the Columbia Medical School since 1963.  In earlier years I did more teaching than I have in recent years, but such reduction in teaching obligations is common for senior medical school faculty members.  More importantly, people who do significant research and writing generally do far less teaching.  This has been my position.
When I was promoted to the rank of full professor in 1983, I was the first person in the history of Columbia’s Child Psychiatry department to achieve that rank who was primarily in private practice (rather than full-time faculty).  I had to satisfy all the same requirements necessary for the promotion of full-time academics.  And this was also true when I was promoted to the associate professorial rank some years previously.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s protocols for evaluating sex abuse are not recognized by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Fact: My protocols not only follow the guidelines delineated in “Guidelines for Conducting the Sex-Abuse Evaluation” published in 1998 by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, but my book, Protocols for the Sex-Abuse Evaluation, is cited as one of the references.  Even more importantly, I was invited to serve as a consultant to the committee formulating this document.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s sex-abuse protocol has no scientific validity

Fact: My book Protocols for the Sex-Abuse Evaluation provides scientific references to the vast majority of the criteria that I use for differentiating between true and false sex-abuse accusations.  No competent professional has ever claimed in a court of law or in a publication that any single criterion in this volume lacks scientific validity.  Actually, the criteria that I use are derived from the same literature that others use when differentiating between true and false accusations. However, my list of differentiating criteria is generally longer and more exhaustive than any of the lists I have seen.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s interest in the field of child sex abuse is probably related to the fact that he himself is tainted somehow in this realm, e.g., he was sexually abused himself as a child, or he himself is a sex abuser

Fact: I was never sexually abused as a child.  I have never sexually abused a child, nor have I ever been accused of such behavior.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s interest in child-custody disputes probably stems from the fact that he himself was involved in such a dispute

Fact: I have never been involved in a child-custody dispute involving my children.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s work is “controversial”

Fact: The implication here is that because controversy exists there is something specious about my contributions.  It is true that most newly developed scientific principles become “controversial” when they are dealt with in the courtroom.  It behooves the attorneys to take an opposite stand and create controversy where it does not exist.  This is inevitable in the context of adversarial proceedings.  A good example of this phenomenon is the way in which DNA testing was dealt with in the OJ Simpson trial.  DNA testing is one of the most scientifically valid procedures.  Yet the jury saw fit to question the validity of such evidence, and DNA became, for that trial, controversial.  Those who discount my contributions because some are allegedly “controversial” sidestep the real issue, namely, what specifically has engendered the controversy, and, more importantly, is what I have said reasonable and valid?  The fact that something is controversial does not invalidate it.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner has a publicist

Fact: There was a period of approximately nine months (fall 1992 to summer 1993) when I did engage the services of a publicist.  The purpose was to bring public attention to one very important case in which I was involved.  That was the only time that I have used the services of a publicist.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner is extremely expensive and only represents rich people

Fact: My fees are higher than average, but commensurate with that of people at my level of experience and expertise.  I have also done a significant amount of pro bono work.  At any given point I usually have one or two pro bono patients for whom I dedicate myself as assiduously I would had they been paying me.  I do not differ here from many other physicians whose fees from those who can pay enables them to provide services at low cost—or even at no cost—to others.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s work on the PAS and sex abuse is not generally recognized by the professional communities

Fact: This vague statement does not identify which people in which professional communities do not recognize my work.  As indicated elsewhere on this website, there are approximately 65 articles published in scientific journals on the parental alienation syndrome.  Furthermore, institutions in both the legal and mental health realms have invited me repeatedly to lecture on the PAS and sex abuse, and thousands have attended my lectures throughout the United States, in Canada and in some countries abroad.

Misperception: The PAS has not been recognized in courts of law

Fact: Again, no mention is made regarding which courts of law.  Although there are certainly judges who have not yet recognized the PAS (I have no hesitation using the word “yet”) there is no question that courts of law with increasing rapidity are recognizing the disorder.  Elsewhere in this website are cited 37 cases in which the PAS has been recognized.  I am certain that there are others which have not been brought to my attention.

Misperception: The PAS is a discredited theory

Fact: Those who promulgate this myth do not state who has discredited the PAS and by what authority.  The facts are just the opposite.  An ever-increasing number of legal and mental health professionals are writing articles on the PAS and citing it in courts of law.  These two are cited in this website.

Misperception: Gardner believes that judges, lawyers, juries, and evaluators who involve themselves in sex-abuse lawsuits become sexually “turned on” in the course of the litigation

Fact: As the media well knows, sex and violence attract attention.  People are more likely to read about these issues than less “interesting” topics.  To deny prurient interests is to deny reality. This does not mean that I believe that people are sitting in the courtroom in a state of high sexual excitation while the trial is going on.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner believes that everybody has pedophilic tendencies

Fact: I believe that all people are born with the potential to engage in every kind of atypical sexual behavior known to humanity.  It behooves parents and other caretakers to suppress socially unacceptable behavior and to channel the child’s sexual urges into socially accepted forms.  This should happen in early childhood. In our society the pedophilic potential has been suppressed successfully for the vast majority of individuals.  Those who have not experienced such suppression become pedophiles.  There have been other societies in the history of the world that have not suppressed pedophilic tendencies.  The fact that such suppression has not taken place is a fact of history.  This does not mean that I suggest that we emulate such societies or that I approve of pedophilia.  Human sacrifice has been widespread in many societies in the history of the world.  This also is a fact of history.  To state this fact does not mean that I approve of the practice.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s custody evaluations do not follow the guidelines delineated by the American Psychological Association

Fact: My child-custody evaluative procedures follow every one of these guidelines.  Those who promulgate this myth do not say specifically what in these guidelines is not subscribed to by my child-custody evaluative procedures.  In fact, my publications describing my procedures have been cited in the 1994 American Psychological Association’s “Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluation in Divorce Proceedings.” The Guidelines cite the first edition of my book on the parental alienation syndrome as well as my 1992 volume True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s sex-abuse evaluations do not follow the guidelines delineated by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Fact: Again, those who promulgate this myth do not state exactly which aspects or elements in my protocol do not follow these guidelines.  The facts are that they do.  In 1997 the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published “Practice Parameters for the Forensic Evaluation of Children and Adolescents Who May Have Been Physically or Sexually Abused.” I was a consultant to the committee that prepared this document, and my 1992 and 1995 books which describe my protocols are cited in this document.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s PAS has given abusing parents the weapon to use against their accusers.  Specifically, they deny their abuse and claim that the children’s animosity is the result of the accuser’s programming

Fact: I do not deny that some bona fide abusers are doing this.  The implication of the criticism, however, is that somehow I am responsible for such misrepresentation of my contribution by these abusers.  PAS exists, as does child abuse.  There will always be those who will twist a contribution for their own purposes.  The second edition of my book The Parental Alienation Syndrome provides evaluators with detailed criteria for differentiating between true abusers and PAS indoctrinators.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s work has contributed to sex-abuse hysteria in this country

Fact: In a way, this is a compliment, because it credits me with the power to create a national hysteria that did not exist before my publications.  Describing a phenomenon does not mean that I created it.  My book Sex Abuse Hysteria: Salem Witch Trials Revisited was published in 1991, at least six or seven years after the hysteria began. (The reader may recall that the McMartin accusations surfaced in 1983 and the Kelly Michaels accusations in 1988.)  Obviously, the sex-abuse hysteria phenomenon was well under way before the publication of my book.

Misperception: Gardner is responsible for judges all over the United States and Canada disbelieving mothers claiming that their children were sexually abused by their husbands.  As a result children are not being protected from their pedophilic fathers

Fact: Again, there is a compliment here in that I, a single person, could have such an enormous influence over the judiciary over a whole continent.  The alternative explanation, namely, that my contributions have brought to light the abomination of false sex-abuse accusations is not acknowledged by those who promulgate this myth.

Misperception: Dr. Gardner’s work has resulted in people committing suicide and homicide

Fact: There is no question that I have been involved in a few cases in which such tragedies have occurred.  I do not differ, thereby, from the vast majority of other psychiatrists who have been in full-time practice for over 40 years.  The implication here is that I somehow have been personally responsible for these deaths.  Unfortunately, considerations of confidentiality prevent me from making any public statements regarding these particular cases.  The old adage is applicable here: “There are two sides to every story.”  And my side, without revealing any specific information about any specific case is this: I have never been involved in a case in which I have been directly responsible for anyone’s suicide or anyone’s homicide.  And in every such case I could, if I had the opportunity, provide compelling evidence that these terrible consequences had absolutely nothing to do with me.

Richard A. Gardner, M.D.
Cresskill, New Jersey
June 9, 1999

Misperceptions_vs_Facts about RA Gardner June 19, 1999.

Emotional Scarring From Divorce Affects 1 In 4 Kids, Most Ages 9 To 12

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on December 18, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Emotional Scarring From Divorce Affects 1 In 4 Kids, Most Ages 9 To 12

To see the original article click on the link above.