Claire Edgar discusses Parental Alienation at Safeguarding Board Event

Claire Edgar

04 August 2021

On 28th July 2021, our Family Law Partner, Claire Edgar, presented at a workshop event organised by the Safeguarding Board of Northern Ireland. The event entitled 'Refusing Contact/Parental Alienation' explored issues around domestic abuse and parental alienation.

Parental Alienation (PA) as a concept is a derivative of a much-contested theory of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), devised by child psychiatrist Richard Gardner, to describe a child’s rejection of one parent and a strong connection with the other parent.  This workshop explored the negative implications of such terminology in cases of domestic violence and abuse.

The workshop was attended by professionals across a wide range of disciplines including Social Workers, Probation Officers and officials from the Department of Health and Department of Justice.

At the event, Claire shared her experience as a practitioner of children law cases in which allegations of parental alienation have been made.

Ms Edgar said: "Throughout my 25 years practising family law, I have acted on behalf of parents who have been accused of parental alienation and those who allege that they have fallen victim to it.

Regardless of who you act for in parental alienation cases, they can undoubtedly be some of the most difficult cases to deal with, not only because they are usually highly emotive but also because of the pressure that is placed on the legal representatives and Court to fix a highly damaged situation.

Whilst cases involving genuine parental alienation are relatively uncommon, our Courts are seeing an increasing number of cases alleging parental alienation type behaviours.

I was delighted to be involved in this workshop event and believe events of this nature to be most beneficial in providing information to childcare professionals about parental alienation and in particular, its relationship with domestic abuse."

For advice on parental alienation or any other matter regarding children’s law, contact Claire on or call 028 9024 3901