Abbiamo già raccontato la storia di Catherine Meyer in questo post.
Dopo aver presieduto a partire dal 1999 una fondazione finalizzata a sensibilizzare l’opinione pubblica sul problema della sottrazione internazionale dei figli di genitori separati, la Meyer nel 2018 è stata nominata membro della Camera dei Lord.
Il 5 gennaio 2021 è intervenuta nel dibattito per la discussione del disegno di legge sulla violenza domestica. Nel suo intervento la baronessa ha fatto notare come una forma subdola di violenza psicologica è quella che viene esercitata sui figli nel corso della separazione dei genitori quando uno dei genitori indottrina il figlio denigrando l’altro genitore. La baronessa Meyer ha proposto un emendamento al disegno di legge per considerare anche queste tipologie di abuso psicologico come reato collegato alla violenza domestica.
I have long been concerned that, when people talk of domestic abuse, their frame of reference is exclusively adults. Unfortunately, children are the collateral damage from an abusive adult relationship. I therefore welcome the Government’s amendment to include in the definition of domestic abuse victims “a child who … sees or hears, or experiences the effects of, the abuse, and … is related to” the individuals.
This is a step forward but it is not enough. It does not capture the full horror of when the abuser parent uses the child as their weapon of choice.
In my almost 20 years of running a charity, I saw this happen time and again. The abuser will typically put pressure on the child, denigrating the other parent or telling the child that the other parent does not love it anymore. Indoctrination of this kind, as easily perpetrated by an abusive father as by an abusive mother—this is not gender related—is not just the poisoned fruit of a thirst for revenge. It is also deliberately intended to persuade the child to bear witness against the other parent in family court proceedings.
Of course, there are circumstances in which a child is fully justified in not wanting further contact with a parent, but I am talking about a situation in which a child’s hostility towards one parent is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent. That is known as parental alienation. Just imagine the distress and confusion that it causes the child. Caught in a conflict of loyalty between the child’s two parents, the child is vulnerable and easily coerced into making false allegations in court, destroying the life and reputation of the abused parent and denying them all contact with the child for no good reason.
I have seen close up some of the devastating consequences of parental alienation, not only on adults but on the children themselves. I know of a 14 year-old boy who committed suicide because the pressure was unbearable. My charity produced several documentaries based on interviews with adults who had been alienated from one of their parents when they were children. They all suffered from severe mental health issues: feelings of guilt, low self-esteem, depression, lack of trust, fear of abandonment and many other symptoms. You may say that all this is child abuse, but when a child is converted into a weapon in an abusive adult relationship, is it really sensible to try to distinguish between domestic abuse and child abuse? Surely it is not. This is why I would like to put forward an amendment, which I very much hope the Government will consider positively.
Fonte: TheyWorkForYou – Making it easy to keep an eye on the UK’s parliaments. Discover who represents you, how they’ve voted and what they’ve said in debates – simply and clearly.