Coping with the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Page 3 of 12


PAS as Emotional Child Abuse

In common sense terms, PAS is a form of 'Emotional Child Abuse'. A child is deliberately deprived of the love and support of the father, and done so with the implicit threat that the mother will not love him or her if they do not reflect the mother's attitudes.

The document 'Working together under the Children Act 1989 (P.49 Para. 2)' does define emotional child abuse as:

"Actual or likely severe adverse effects on the emotional behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment or rejection. All abuse involves some emotional ill treatment. This category should be used where it is the main or sole form of abuse."

It continues to define variations of abuse as 'Significant harm', 'Ill treatment', or 'Impairment of health of development'.

The D.o.Health also publishes an annual breakdown of 'Children and Young People on Child Protection Registers'. For example, in the year 1994 in England there were 34,900 children on the Child Protection Register. This covered:

Neglect 30%

Physical injury 38%

Sexual abuse 28%

Emotional abuse 13%


The total percentages are over 100% as some children were registered in more than one category. Bearing in mind that emotional abuse is normally part of other forms of abuse, the category of 'Emotional abuse' is virtually non-existent as a form that can be registered.

There is also the fact that alienated children do not need to be taken into care or be protected in the sense of requiring 'child protection' by the State.

For the same year of 1994, ChildLine produced statistics for their own organisation. They counselled around 82,000 children claimed to get up to 10,000 calls a day. These are categorised as:


Sexual abuse 13

Family relationships 12

Physical abuse 12

Third party concern 10

Bullying 10

Pregnancy 9

Problems with friends 4

Partner relationship 4

Sexuality 4

Facts of life 2

Running away 2

Divorce 2

School 2

Other 14

Although only two categories due to 'family relationships' (12%) and 'divorce' (2%.) seem to be related to broken families, other statistics suggest otherwise. The figures below taken from the Internet, and relate to studies in the USA, but experience and media reports on social problems indicate these figures might well apply to the UK to some degree.

Children from fatherless homes account for:

63% of youth suicides

71% of pregnant teenagers

90% of homeless and runaway children

70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions

85% of children who exhibit behavioural disorders

80% of rapists with displaced anger

71% of all high school dropouts

75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centres

85% of all youths in prisons

Sources include:

US Dept. of Health & Human Services. Bureau of the Census

US Dept. of Justice. Special report Sept. 1988

Criminal Justice & Behaviour Vol. 14 p.403-26 1976

National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools

Rainbows for all God's Children

Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992

The UK government does not collect statistics on these figures, and does not even know how many parents are fined or jailed for disobeying court orders, though the Sedgemoor and Mendip Magistrates Court inform me that "The types of orders most commonly disobeyed are probably contact orders, though no statistics are kept in regard to this."

On the other hand, the UK government does collect statistics on single-mothers. The percentage of single-mothers aged 20-39 in 1991 was 10.1% (Eurostat). At that time German ran second with 7.7%. (Italy 2.3%) The UK had the highest percentage of single-mothers in Europe.

As the figures are ten years old, and do not include teenagers or the growing number of single-mothers over 40, then we can guess that the UK continues to easily top the league table for single mothers, as it does for divorce, and unmarried partnerships.

There is always a danger of relating one set of statistics to another, but we do know at the time of writing that crime figures have jumped to the point where the police say it is uncontrollable, and that teachers are leaving in droves due to difficulty in controlling children and trying to teach at the same time. The lack of discipline in classrooms and on the street are easily related to the lack of a father figure to control and offer a role model for children.