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Stop Family Violence is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to organize and amplify our nation’s collective voice against all forms of relationship violence including domestic violence, rape, child abuse, child sex abuse, incest, sexual assault, elder abuse, dating violence, stalking, sexual trafficking and prostitution.  Together we can stop family violence.







  Home > Get Informed > Custody and Abuse > Parental Alienation Syndrome

The Truth About Parental Alienation
Proponents of Parental Alienation portray parental alienation as a destructive family dynamic, usually manifesting during custody battles, in which one parent purportedly turns the child’s sentiments against the other parent. Failure to recognize and correct this dynamic by ensuring that the child has a relationship with both parents, they claim, will cause great harm to the child. Indeed, nothing can be further from the truth. Parental Alienation is a discredited, pseudo-psychological theory whose application in custody determinations has caused great harm to children. (more)

Legal Community Rejects Parental Alienation Syndrome
The Leadership Council On Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, 07/12/

Two recent high profile legal publications have rejected “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS), a controversial label often used to discredit allegations of child abuse or domestic violence in family courts. According to PAS theory, children's disclosures of abuse by one parent are reinterpreted as evidence of “brainwashing” by the other parent. The solution proposed by PAS theory is to immediately award custody to the alleged child abuser. (more)

The Evidentiary Admissibility of Parental Alienation
American Bar Association's Children's Legal Rights Journal, 04/01/

Since 1985, in jurisdictions all over the United States, fathers have been awarded sole custody of their children based on claims that mothers alienated these children due to a pathological medical syndrome called Parental Alienation Syndrome ("PAS"). Given that some such cases have involved stark outcomes, including murder and suicide, PAS' admissibility in U.S. courts deserves scrutiny. This article presents the first comprehensive analysis of the science, law, and policy issues involved in PAS' evidentiary admissibility. The author analyzes every precedent-bearing decision and law review article referencing PAS in the past twenty years, finding that precedent holds PAS inadmissible and the majority of legal scholarship views it negatively. (more)

Quotes By Richard Gardner
Richard A. Gardner, M.D., is the creator of the creator and main proponent for Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) theory. Prior to his suicide, Gardner was an unpaid part-time clinical professor of child psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University . He made his money mainly as a forensic expert. PAS was developed by Dr Richard Gardner in 1985 based on his personal observation, not on scientific study, and on his work as an expert witness, often on behalf of fathers accused of molesting their children. Gardner 's theory of PAS has had a profound effect on how the court systems in our country handle allegations of child sexual abuse, especially during divorce. Because Gardner 's PAS theory is based on his clinical observations--not scientific data--it must be understood in the context of his extreme views concerning women, pedophilia and child sexual abuse. (more)

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Rejects PAS
The theory positing the existence of "PAS" has been discredited by the scientific community and hence fails to meet Daubert and Frye standards and should be ruled inadmissible. Quite apart from its scientific invalidity, PAS inappropriately asks the court to assume that the children's behaviors and attitudes toward the parent who claims to be "alienated" have no grounding in reality. It also diverts attention away from the behaviors of the abusive parent, who may have directly influenced the children's responses by acting in violent, disrespectful, intimidating, humiliating and/or discrediting ways toward the children themselves, or the children's other parent. (more)

Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Getting It Wrong In Child Custody Disputes
Family Law Quarterly , 03/15/

As American courts and legislatures continue their enthusiastic ventures into family law reform, they make frequent use of theories and research from the social sciences. This essay focuses on developments in child custody law stemming from Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a theory propounded in 1985 that became widely used despite its lack of scientific foundations. The discussion highlights theoretical and practical problems with PAS, provides a similar discussion of more recent proposals labeled Parental Alienation (PA), and concludes with recommendations for lawyers and judges who must evaluate these and similar developments. (more)

Parental Alienation Syndrome - What Professionals Need To Know Part 1
National Center For Prosecution of Child Abuse, American Prosecutors Research Institute, 11/01/

Although PAS may be hailed as a “syndrome” (a group of symptoms that occur together and constitute a recognizable abnormality), in fact it is the product of anecdotal evidence gathered from Dr. Gardner’s own practice.4 The purpose of this article is to briefly discuss the major premises upon which PAS is based, and to identify key weaknesses. (more)

Lesson from Alec Baldwin: Alienation Begins With You
Minnesota Monitor, 04/30/

There are parents who try to turn their kids to their side, and there is a case to be made that men are undervalued as parents, just as women are undervalued in the work force. But it's never the poor schlubs who care for their kids who end up screaming about parental alienation. It's generally the narcissistic abusers, the men who are enraged not that their exes are working against them, but that their exes dared to leave in the first place. (more)

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