Is Parental Alienation Child Abuse?

An ongoing series on parental alienation authored by an anonymous CAFE volunteer

Child abuse is not just physical abuse it also includes mental, emotional and psychological abuse. Therefore, parental alienation is child abuse.

United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations encourages its members to enact measures to protect children from, all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation.1

The Committee on the Rights of the child state:

“……most strongly that the choice of the term violence in the present general comment must not be interpreted in any way to minimize the impact of, and need to address, non-physical and/or non-intentional forms of harm (such as, inter alia, neglect and psychological maltreatment).”2

Mental Violence Defined

The Committee considers, “all forms of persistent harmful interactions with a child as mental violence.”3 Mental violence can include conveying to the child they are unloved, worthless and unwanted.4 Mental violence also includes, scaring, terrorizing and threatening; exploiting and corrupting; spurning and rejecting; isolating, ignoring and favouritism.5 Mental violence also includes, humiliation, belittling, ridiculing and hurting a child’s feelings.6 Finally, exposing a child to domestic violence7 and psychological bullying8 by an adult are also considered mental violence.

Is Alienation Child Abuse?

Is it mental abuse where the custodial parent systematically, intentionally and maliciously obstructs in the child’s inherent biological and legal right to maintain a normal relationship with the other parent?

When assessing the best interests of the child the Committee itself recognizes the separated child’s entitlement to, “maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis.”9

Alienated parents describe a vicious psychological campaign by the custodial parent to eliminate them from their child’s life. Not only does this obstruct the relationship with the alienated parent it creates a toxic environment and can have serious long term irreparable consequences for both the alienated parent and the child.

The custodial parent will brainwash the child, refuse contact, make disparaging comments about the other parent. The custodial parent might resort to even threatening the child or blaming the child for the failure of the marriage. Many alienated parents speak of domestic violence in the home.

Given the United Nations expansive definition of mental abuse it would seem quite evidence that parental alienation is child abuse.

1 Conventions on the Rights of the Child, United Nations, Article 19
2 Committee on the Rights of the Child, General comment No. 13 (2011), Paragraph 4
3 Ibid, Paragraph 21(a)
4 Ibid
5 Ibid, Paragraph 21 (b)
6 Ibid, Paragraph 21 (d)
7 Ibid, Paragraph 21 (e)
8 Ibid, Paragraph 21 (g)
9 General comment No. 14 (2013) Paragraph 60