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7 January 2014

High Court judge says manipulating parents cause 'untold damage' to children

A High Court judge has condemned social workers for failing to grasp how warring parents can manipulate their own children after a relationship breakdown, reports The Telegraph.

Mrs Justice Parker said spouses can cause “untold damage” to their offspring in the wake of a divorce or separation.

The judge delivered a harsh rebuke to social workers and an official guardian acting for three brothers at the centre of a contact dispute between their mother and father.

Sitting at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Parker expressed concern that the mother appeared to have turned her 15-year-old son against his father.

“Parents who obstruct the relationship with either mother or father are inflicting untold damage on their children and it’s about time the professionals truly understood this,” said the judge.

“I regard parental manipulation of children, of which I distressingly see an enormous amount, as exceptionally harmful.

“I take domestic violence extremely seriously. It is a terrible social evil when it exists.

“But not all allegations of domestic violence and abuse are true and at the end of a stormy and difficult marriage as this has been between the parents of the children, it is very easy for parents to re-write history in their own minds.”

Social services and the guardian appointed by the court had asked the judge not to alter contact arrangements for the three boys and to allow them to remain living with their mother, as the children had requested.

But, instead, Mrs Justice Parker ordered a dramatic reversal in the family’s living arrangements, describing the social worker’s recommendation as “unsafe”.

She ordered the two younger boys to be cared for by their father and the older son to live with a grandmother until the case returns to court next year.

Read the full story here.