(Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, Reem Alsalem. (2023, Apr. 13). Custody, violence against women and violence against children. United Nations Human Rights Council.)
The report demonstrates how the discredited and unscientific pseudo-concept of parental alienation is used in family law proceedings by abusers as a tool to continue their abuse and coercion and to undermine and discredit allegations of domestic violence made by mothers who are trying to keep their children safe. It also shows how the standard of the best interest of the child is violated by imposing contact between a child and one or both parents and by prioritizing it, even where there is evidence of domestic violence. Predominantly as a result of the lack of training and gender bias and of access to legal support, the custody of children may be awarded to perpetrators of violence, despite evidence of a history of domestic and/or sexual abuse. The consequences of biased custody decisions can be catastrophic, resulting in specific incidents when contact has been awarded to fathers with a violent history,38 in the death of children and women and children being placed at gunpoint.39 In some cases, women have been imprisoned for violating custodial rights and protective restraining orders have been overturned.