I hope they do not mind me quoting a whole chunk of their press release. It is rather good news:
Families Need Fathers Scotland has submitted its observations to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee consultation on the Scottish Government’s draft Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill which aims to introduce a new domestic abuse criminal offence of ‘coercive control’.
From the perspective of the individuals who ask for our help FNF Scotland gives a qualified welcome to the Bill’s proposal to create “a new offence of abusive behaviour towards a person’s partner or ex-partner covering both physical violence and non-physical abuse.”
We have drawn the Justice Committee’s attention to examples of coercive control exerted over a non-resident parent by the parent with most care. These range from the constructed ambush at handover to the persistent and pervasive controlling of the life of the non-resident parent. We have listed the following examples from within cases raised with us:
- Refusing to communicate at all
- Refusing to communicate unless through (an expensive) solicitor
- Delaying decisions on arrangements such as holiday dates until the last minute
- Changing contact arrangements at the last minute without reason or explanation
- Constantly being late for agreed or court ordered contact
- Taking children away from school on holiday without notice or agreement
- Refusing to engage with the non-resident parent on key decisions such as school placements
- Instructing health providers not to engage with the non-resident parent
- Demanding “cash for contact”
- Demanding to know every detail of what the child does when with the non-resident parent in way they would refuse to reciprocate
- Hiding a tracking or listening device in the clothes or toys of a child when the child is having contact with the other parent
- Criticising the other parent’s parenting skills
- Criticising and undermining the other parent in front of their children
- Criticising the other parent’s choices of clothes or food while the child is with them
- Demanding the right to withhold contact from a new partner
- Making unfounded allegations about a range of matters both trivial and potentially criminal to friends, neighbours, family members directly and on social media aimed at isolating and undermining the character of the non-resident parent
- Making unfounded allegations about a range of matters both trivial and potentially criminal to professionals putting the non-resident parent in the position that he is under constant pressure to prove his worth as a parent.
I have not heard of “coercive control” before, but looking at the list there are definitely elements that lead to parental alienation and could be classed as emotional abuse.
Let’s see if the input to the proposed law “Domestic Abuse (Scotland) is actually taken on board.
via Domestic Abuse bill could help non-resident parents experiencing ‘coercive control’ – News – Families Need Fathers Scotland
There is still a long way to go, but at least this is possible social change in the right direction. The toughest challenge will be challenging the biased and prejudiced attitude of the professionals and services.
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There is certainly a long way to go, but I am starting to get a good vibe due to the fact *something* is happening.
Personally, I feel that the list will not be adopted in its entirety. The ‘criticising’ part of the list, for instance, needs knowledge of parental alienation to understand why it is important that it be criminalised.
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As a mental health nurse, it is obvious to me and probably others that this needs recognition within a mental health context. And as such treated as the child protection issue it is instead of professionals wrongly viewing it as a child custody issue. But still we need to keep chipping away at the problem.
Absolutely, this requires additional training of the professionals involved. It is emotional child abuse.