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‘Domestic violence deniers’ want to ‘hijack’ Domestic Abuse Bill, women's group warns

A WOMEN’S group is warning that “domestic-violence deniers” are seeking to hijack and undermine the Domestic Abuse Bill, which was returned to the House of Lords today.

Women Against Rape (WAR) said that “fathers’ rights” groups have been pressing for “parental alienation” to be included in the definition of domestic abuse as the Bill headed through committee stage.

The grassroots women’s group said that some abusive men accuse women of “parental alienation” when the latter escape with their children. It said: “It is fast becoming the default argument of domestic-abuse deniers against any woman who raises safety concerns and any child who refuses to have contact with a violent father. 

“[The term] originated in the 1980s from discredited US psychiatrist Richard Gardner, who defended paedophilia and forced children into contact with violent fathers. It has no accepted definition and is widely regarded as junk science among academics and researchers.”

Including “parental alienation” in the definition of domestic abuse would open the way for victims to be criminalised, the group said.

It comes after children’s charities NSPCC and Barnardo’s called on peers to make councils legally obliged to provide counselling for children affected by domestic abuse during coronavirus lockdowns.

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