Submission to Joint Committee on Justice on General Scheme of the Family Court Bill

Alienated Children First welcomed the invitation by the Joint Committee on Justice to make a written submission to the General Scheme of the Family Court Bill.

The submission was made on Friday 19th February 2021 and the full document can be viewed here.

In April 2020 Judge Mary Larkin in Family Law Court in Ennis cited Parental Alienation in Irish Law in a relatively straight forward access denial case which was widely reported in many sources (despite the straight jacket of the in-camera rule) including the Irish Law Society Gazette “Judge describes case as ‘parental alienation’”  April 2020 https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/judge-describes-case-as-parental-alienation/

ACF see limited benefit in changing the building and the brass plaque outside if we do not change what happens inside for the benefit of “the best interests of the child”. This submission draws attention to the Guiding Principles in Part 2 Head 5 (3) (4) & (5) of the bill as the core goals of resolution, mediation, minimising conflict, and most importantly ‘best interests of each child as primary consideration’, and ‘the views of the child’ that should be central to all family law proceedings, related matters, including policy and procedures and statutory bodies. The children of Ireland deserve their rights be protected to the best of our abilities.

This submission asks that we take this opportunity to protect children’s rights and focuses particularly on how the bill could address the plight of child victims of parental alienation.

ACF draws the committee’s attention to the significant body of evidence on parental alienation including O’Sullivan and Guildea “Clinical and Legal Aspects of Parental Alienation” Irish Journal of Family Law (2020) 23(4) 101-108 “When it comes to the empirical study of parental alienation, the more than 1,000 research and clinical studies reported in scientific journals and books regarding the definition, characteristics, incidence, prevalence rates and the effects of parental alienation can be considered robust. ”

ACF welcome this opportunity to be a part of the solution to the ending the hurt of so many children in Ireland from the child abuse of parental alienation.

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