‘I was punished for telling the truth’: how allegations of parental alienation are used to silence, sideline and disempower survivors of domestic abuse in family law proceedings

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Jenny BirchallWomen’s Aid Federation of England, UK

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Shazia ChoudhryUniversity of Oxford, UK

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This article presents empirical findings from a research study conducted by Women’s Aid Federation England and Queen Mary University of London looking at domestic abuse and the family courts. The study found that allegations of parental alienation were frequently being used during child arrangements proceedings to obscure and undermine allegations of domestic abuse. These findings are presented against a backdrop of a recent revival of ideas around alienation in the family court in England and Wales. The article highlights a growing body of evidence demonstrating the gendered assumptions underlying parental alienation as a concept, and argues that the concept should not be accepted without analysis and understanding of the harmful impact it has on survivors of domestic abuse and their children.

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Jenny BirchallWomen’s Aid Federation of England, UK

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Shazia ChoudhryUniversity of Oxford, UK

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