Current Affairs
Government drawing up strategy to avoid parental alienation

A technical group is in the process of analysing parental alienation – when one parent subjects children to alienation with the other parent. This will lead to a change in strategy and in turn legal changes for the problem to be addressed. This is a problem that is being faced by between 100 and 150 parent who has resorted for help to the Fondazzjoni Happy Parenting Malta for Happier Children

Children often end up as a bargaining tool when parents initiate procedures for legal separation. The founder of the Fondazzjoni, Anthony Cauchi, explained that many children in this situation end up being deprived of a parent and virtually of grandparents. Cauchi explained that parental alienation is a form of domestic violence on the whole family.

He said this is a situation where one parent does everything possible to alienate, manipulate and deprive the other parent and their families and this relegate the bonds between them.

Cauchi said the Fondazzjoni has a support group for parents and children undergoing such problems and these are being addressed by a technical group, led by Andy Ellul as its Chairperson.

He said greater awareness of parental alienation is being promulgated so that a strategy and consultation will develop that will be reflected in legal changes.

The technical committee also includes the President of Għaqda Happy Parenting Mary Gauci, the Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli, the Commissioner of Domestic and Gender Abuse Violence Audrey Friggieri, Steve Libreri and lawyer Dr Fleur Abela.

In launching the committee, the Minister for Justice, Edward Zammit Lewis, said that children should not be used as a bargaining tool for one parent to gain advantage over the other. He said the committee will also be evaluating shortcomings in the legal system. He said the lengthening of the procedure to pronounce care and custody is leading to the further creation of alienation for one parent to gain advantage over the other.

The Minister for the Family and Rights of Children, Michael Falzon, said that not all understand the rights of children should be first and foremost. He said that Court authorisation that access visits be stopped during the pandemic is being abused – in many cases, by mothers who use the Covid excuse to prevent the access to the other parent.