In our work with targeted -alienated parents, we have found that alienating parents may allege family violence against them. They may subject them to multiple Family Violence Protection Orders to exclude them from a relationship with their children. Such orders include intervention orders, apprehended violence orders or violence restraining orders. Ironically, alienating parents who obtain Family Violence Protection Orders may demonstrate alienating and harmful behaviour instead of protective behaviour. Consequently, alienating parents should consider whether they apply for Family Violence Protection Orders at all.
Alienating parents who obtain Family Violence Orders against targeted-alienated parents may ultimately assist targeted-alienated parents in reversing the children’s parental care and responsibility to them. These Family Violence Protection Orders prevent targeted-alienated from engaging in mediation with their ex-partner and contacting their children. In our experience, few of these cases against a targeted -alienated parent proceed to a criminal charge, let alone a conviction.
Exploiting Laws Protecting Real Victims
Parents legitimately require protection from a violent and abusive ex-partner. Legislators designed family violence laws for such cases, which are not the subject of this article. This article shows how parents who exploit Family Violence laws masquerade as victims. They perpetuate their alienation, harm their children and abuse the other parent. This article also shows how this alienation strategy may become an “own-goal” for alienating parents.
Alienating parents masquerading as family violence victims exploit the fatal weakness of family violence legislation. That weakness is that it does not test the evidence on which alleged victims of family violence seek protection. The law appears to focus solely on safety and therefore requires little information to establish a need for protection.
Family Violence Protection orders are relatively easy to obtain. Family Violence laws may require police to issue them based on what appears to be a plausible story. Overturning Family Violence Protection Orders is difficult. It requires the allegedly offending person to prove the negative, to demonstrate their actions or inactions do not cause fear for safety. Yet, the law presumes that targeted-alienated parents’ efforts to keep their children in contact with them are dangerous.
How Alienating Parents Implicate Themselves
There have been cases in the Family Law system resulting in alienating parents losing parental care and responsibility for their alienated children. Their multiple Family Violence orders against the other, targeted-alienated parent damaged their claims because the lack of credibility to their claims harmed their children instead of protecting them.
Over time the effect of the Family Violence Protection Order further reinforces the children’s unrealistic, unreasonable fear and loathing of their targeted parent. Using Family Violence Protection Orders polarises the children’s unrealistic perspectives of both parents. Children’s polarised and unbalanced views of both parents is a hallmark of child psychological abuse by alienation. The exploitative use of Family Violence Protection Orders harms children exposed to alienating behaviour instead of protecting them. Reversal of parental care and responsibility is the only realistic option.
Family Courts place their children in their targeted-alienated parent’s care and responsibility when Family Courts do not find their claims of family violence and sexual abuse credible. Instead, Family Courts may find their family violence, and abuse claims are false. Family Courts then also find that the accompanying false narratives of dangerousness harm and abuse the children and the other parent. Such claims amount to false allegations that are harmful, abusive and alienating of themselves and damage legitimate claims for protection.
How False Allegations of Family Violence Support Abuse by Parental Alienation
Practice-based evidence supports a gendered view that alienating mothers appear to be disposed to family violence and sexual abuse claims. These false claims exploit gendered Family Violence law to exclude the targeted parent. Social narratives favouring gendered family violence and gendered bias in family violence legislation encourage alienating mothers to exploit it.
For example, the preamble to Family Violence legislation in the State of Victoria focuses on gendered male violence against women despite the general wording of the legislation. In a supreme irony, in at least one case, judicial opinion considered an alienating mother to have perpetrated family violence against her children and the other parent. Her historical false family violence claims and several Family Violence Protection Orders ultimately did not support her.
Alienating fathers also make false claims. They appear to rely on unsubstantiated allegations that targeted-alienated mothers present with mental health issues that endanger their children or are neglectful and dangerous mothers. Our practice experience with targeted-alienated mothers suggests that alienating fathers are generally less successful in engaging protective action on claims of mental health and neglect than alienating mothers are on claims of family violence and sexual abuse.
Our observations are that the tactics alienating fathers use appear to discourage targeted-alienated mothers from pursuing their cases. Yet, our observations are the tactics alienating mothers use do not deter targeted-alienated fathers from seeking reversal of care and responsibility.
How Can Targeted-Alienated Parents Use Family Violence Protection Orders?
A better strategy for targeted-alienated parents is to agree to Family Violence Protection Orders without admissions than to fight them. Instead, targeted-alienated parents focus on how alienating parents implicate themselves by abusing the legal process. Ultimately, their claims fail the credibility test. When tested in Famly Courts, their claims lack integrity. Their claims may be factually incorrect, present improbable or impossible scenarios and lack triangulation with other related information. Alienating parents are often unable to establish a behaviour pattern consistent with family violence or child sexual abuse.
Our practice experience demonstrates that targeted-alienated parents can protect their children by reversing the children’s care and responsibility to them. False claims of family violence and sexual abuse demonstrate alienating parents have no qualms about exploiting legal processes.
Alienating parents risk overreaching themselves and revealing their genuine motivation to eradicate the other parent no matter the impact on the children. A resourced targeted-parent can take the moral high ground to fight for their children. Alienating parents abandon this principled position.