March 5, 2021 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
This article – by a member of the British House of Lords, no less – is so bad it needs translation (The House, 2/26/21). Oh, the English is entirely grammatical, the word usage essentially flawless. But it simply can’t mean what the words say. It just can’t.
So, as a public service to all, I offer my own scrupulously accurate translation:
In America, more than fifty thousand children each year are forced by courts into unsupervised contact with an abusive parent.
Translation: In the United States, no one has any idea of how many abusive parents are given custody of children. The reason for this is that there has never been a study documenting, even on a small scale, whether allegations of abuse are true or not and whether parents with true findings of abuse receive custody and, if they do, what kind. The linked-to document doesn’t even pretend to be such a study and it was authored by a person who’s been repeatedly rebuked by judges for being too biased to offer an opinion in court.
More than 70% of domestic abuse perpetrators gain custody of children.
Translation: There is zero evidence for this proposition. The link provided literally says nothing on the subject. No study has definitively shown which allegations of abuse are proven true and how often a demonstrated abuser gets custody or, if they do, what kind.
The courts often overlook and dismiss allegations of domestic and sexual abuse.
Translation: Family courts in every state are required by law to investigate allegations of domestic violence, child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, etc. Ironically, those who claim otherwise are also those who argue that courts should in all cases ignore parental alienation which is itself a form of child abuse.
In many cases they [overlook and dismiss allegations of domestic and sexual abuse] because of the aggressive misuse of a concept called parental alienation (PA).
Translation: Courts generally make serious efforts to ascertain the truth or falsity of those allegations, usually appointing mental health or other professionals to assist them in their search for the truth. There is no evidence that, in any general way, allegations of parental alienation are used to derail true allegations of child abuse. Certain people who seem determined to undermine the very concept of PA have tried to establish a link between allegations of PA and the marginalization of true claims of abuse, but have entirely failed to do so.
Despite there being no scientific evidence for it, parental alienation has become a dominant force in American courts as the standard defence against domestic abuse allegations.
Translation: There is a mountain of evidence that parental alienation not only exists, but is well-known to judges, family lawyers and mental health professionals. No serious commentator would ever say otherwise. There is zero evidence, however, about how often it’s raised as an issue or as a defense to other allegations.
According to Gardner, all children reporting abuse in custody litigation had been manipulated into fearing or hating one parent – usually the father – by the other.
Translation: Richard Gardner pointed up the fact that, in somewhat rare instances, reports of abuse, either by children or a parent, stemmed not from actual abuse, but from the aggressive alienation of the child by the parent. Some extremists who are willing to confect the idea that Gardner said that about “all children,” are simply so desperate to make a point that they’re willing to lie openly about the matter. Either that or they are profoundly ignorant about the subject on which they speak.
Although Gardner’s theories have been dismissed by the scientific community and by the Court of Appeal in England and Wales, they have been replaced by concepts of ‘parental alienation’, ‘alienation’, ‘implacable hostility’, and ‘children who resist or refuse contact’ – all grounded in the same ideas.
Translation: Gardner’s idea of Parental Alienation Syndrome and that of Parental Alienation are not the same and never have been. Parental alienation has been recognized under other names by the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – V and the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases – 11. Numerous organizations of mental health professionals worldwide recognize parental alienation as behavior with the potential to harm children. Numerous organizations of legal professionals also recognize evidence of PA as admissible in family courts adjudicating custody and/or parenting time issues. Evidence of PA has been admitted by courts using the Daubert and Frye standards for admissibility of expert opinion.
When fathers claim alienation, American courts are more than twice as likely to disbelieve mothers’ claims of any type of abuse, and almost four times less likely to believe mothers’ claims of child abuse.
Translation: When alienation is claimed, judges are required to investigate the allegations. When alienation is found to occur, judges take the matter seriously and often act to limit the alienator’s access to the child. The reason for doing so is that parental alienation is a form of child abuse, so judges rightly want to limit any ongoing abuse of the child. Fathers are as likely as mothers to be alienators and, when they’re found by a court to have done so, suffer identical rates of loss of custody as do mothers. Such, at any rate, was the finding of a study conducted by Joan Meier.
I’ll have more to say on this absurd piece of agitprop tomorrow. For now, Baroness Helic, you’re welcome. My translation of your little bit of disinformation improves it considerably. In its original state, it should be removed from the website for the House of Lords because it disgraces that ancient institution.