Sarah Parsons, Principal Social Worker, Cafcass



It’s vital we move away from the highly polarised debate that has predominated to date and achieve a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of each child’s experience.

As with domestic abuse, parental alienation should be seen as being on a continuum or a spectrum. It can be mild, moderate, or severe.

The impact on the child is the key issue and this will vary according to the resilience and vulnerability of each child.

Pure cases where the child’s rejection of the absent parent is caused solely by the behaviour of the favoured parent are relatively rare, although they do exist. It’s more common for the causal factors to be mixed or ‘hybrid’. This means the behaviour of both parents may be contributing to the dynamic to a greater or lesser degree.

Children themselves can be naturally aligned or have greater affinity for one parent.

We must be extremely careful not to categorise a situation as parental alienation when domestic abuse is the cause of justified rejection.

Coercively controlling parents can frighten children into rejecting the other parent.

Alienating behaviours can be perpetrated by men and women.

Cafcass is developing a High Conflict Practice Pathway to aid assessment in all high conflict cases, which may or may not include alienation. Feedback is being sought from interested parties over the next three months.

Cafcass is also piloting a structured intervention suitable for certain cases where parents are stuck in conflict.

Sarah Parsons, Principal Social Worker, Cafcass


2 thoughts on “Sarah Parsons, Principal Social Worker, Cafcass”

  1. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou.
    At last, the truth of this pernicious form of domestic abuse is being discussed , recognised and addressed. Thankyou.
    It is now 4 years 8 months since seeing my son who will turn 16 years old this month.
    I would welcome any opportunity to help in your research, training, collection of feedback material to genuinely inform and raise awareness of Cafcass practitioners.
    Please do contact me if I can help in any way.
    Sincere and heartfelt thanks for giving me some hope that change will happen.
    Kind regards,

  2. The bigger issues on this topic are the clear bias of Cafcass itsel, with the majority of case workers/managers females, my experience has seen discrimination and prejudice on wide scales. Not prevalent in other areas of commerce or business.
    It’s unbalanced.

    I have repeatedly experienced Conversations/meetings/ and telephone calls being addressed in my surname terms, whilst the other party is Christian name referenced.
    Refusal to look at lots of evidence/facts, instead accepting hearsay and false accusations with nothing to support those.
    Even the courts finding “no proof” Cafcass still not interested.

    Even going further has to refer to me as that man!
    The caseworker drew up a report after 30 mins with my child, ignoring the child’s interests and taking the position of the other party and personally referring to
    Me in a derogatory manner.

    Ignoring long standing mental health issues, in my ex, all denied by her ignoring the psychiatrist reports/therapists reports, even the other party’s own admissions.
    Admissions of not attending therapy sessions, not taking medicines!
    Not a concern to Cafcass at all!

    I was maliciously accused of abusing my daughter, and being under investigation by social services. This has continued repeatedly for 4 years, to the extent I lost all contact with my daughter for 7 months, or face arrest.
    I finally got a report from the appropiate social services stating non of this was true, no investigation had ever been conducted into me, further no advice had been given to stop contact.
    All lies.. Cafcass stance
    Not interested in this, I am being argumentative raising it.

    The solicitors used this to secure custody for my ex, the courts repeatedly refusing to look at the facts evidence.
    Unless you have been through it, it seems impossible to believe this is the U.K.

    The Cafcass Officer, Telling lies repeatedly, failing to turn upto meetings.
    These people act as some authority, peel beneath the service and these are common themes.

    I do not trust these people and in any other area of law, a person who repeatedly commits perjury would see prison!
    A parent who seeks to deamonise the other parent according to Cafcass own charter are investigated.
    Not in my case

    I am the issue!

    The office I deal with, has a very poor record on all of these issues.

    I Understand there are fathers who don’t want to be involved in their child’s life, move on. At what stage will people sit up and see what mothers are doing, using children has pawns.

    The system all geared to rubber stamp mothers custody, non molestation orders and time with the child typically 80% of the time awarded to the mother.
    There are a lot of unfit mothers around as there are fathers!

    People need to look at the devastation of society in breaking up of families, with absent fathers how much negative effect will that have on the children.

    Lots of fathers get stressed/bullied/harrased/ignored/dismissed and repeatedly accused, it is easier to walk away than be destroyed/judged and ignored.

    Until this is sorted, the rates of single parents and crime and children going through therapy is on the increase. Our society will only continue to get worse.

    I welcome a conversation with Senior heads of Cafcass

    The system is highly flawed, and clearly heavily sided towards mums.

    Who are now more likely not to be at home, can’t cook, iron, clean, more focused on self.
    The mum is the home keeper mentality, so brings up the kids is long gone!

    They are behaving like men
    And men are crushed by this feminist movement

    Children need fathers

    Cafcass/courts and social services would do well to remember that

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