Kevin Amey: On Being a Guardian

Kevin presented his experience as a Guardian, noting the stark contrast between children who have been actually abused by a parent who still have an attachment to them and want some kind of contact to be enabled, and those alienated children who are vehemently hateful and anti-contact with a parent who has not abused them at all. He highlighted how the present systems for assessment of children and families are constrained, poorly trained, and limited.  Click below to open his presentation up. It may take a few moments to download. When you’ve finished, close your browser’s window to return to this page to continue reading).

Click to view his presentation again. And here is a court judgement of a PA case in 2013.

Kevin Amey has been a social worker for 30 years, working in mental health, child protection and child care. He has a particular interest in sexual abuse and domestic abuse, working with abusers, their partners, victims and families. He worked for 10 years as an independent social work consultant. For the last four years Kevin has worked with Cafcass where he came across ‘parental alienation’, noticing that the children and parents involved behaved and reacted differently to other families he had met professionally. In this time Kevin has worked with approximately 20 families where there have been features of Parental Alienation.

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3 comments

  1. It was good to read your words again, Kevin. The anecdotes you were able to give at the conference brought your experience to life there, in a way that it isn’t possible to repeat here I guess. About the strange contrast between children who want a relationship with a parent who has abused them, and children who vehemently reject a parent who hasn’t abused them.

    It is also great to have the example of the Judgement to read too. It’s worth taking the time to download and read it (allow 30 minutes total!). As I’ve said in the Not sure about? page, it shows how crazy and culpable the whole system can be in the UK when a child can spend their whole childhood living ‘the alienation experience’ through courts struggling to know how to deal with what they clearly see … and with only a few lone voices of clarity from the professions and agencies recruited to ‘help’ the child, the family and the courts do their job. How come UK courts and professionals can be so blindly intent on ignoring the long-established international field?!

    As a graphic illustration of how Child Alienation works from a Dutch case, the scene is of an alienating father making his daughter ceremonially tear up each unopened letter her absented mother sends, while the girl emphasises how hugely important it is to her for her mother to go on sending those letters. I’m about to get the video link and translation.

    I would suggest that we – here on this blog – could try now to talk about how something better would look. What about applying Roy’s proposals for how courts could work (simply with a different frame of reference), preventing endless cases, short-cutting and improving the process for the most difficult cases than the extraordinary endless harmful expensive failure of family courts exemplified by the Judgement you point us to. Come in Roy! … or anyone else with good ideas.

    Also, if you know where, please point us to other places and people who (presumably) have been working hard on sorting this out better.

    Nick

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  2. Like Kevin, Paul Bishop is another long experienced social worker sharing his rich case stories and skills in assessing children in the context of conflicted parental separations. For those of us who can only imagine this work – and indeed only imagine the range of what children in separated families think, feel and wish – it is great to see more of how it actually works.

    In particular, this article underlines the importance of always considering the child’s whole context and family to make full sense of what they say or show in their behaviour. Reading Paul’s article shows clearly how skilled a task it is to get any child’s views, wishes and feelings. This contrasts starkly with the picture of systematically limited time, funding, training and methods used for this supposedly paramount work.

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  3. I was reminded in London about Collaborative Law – even if it is unlikely that anything collaborative is going to be suitable for the most entrenched separations that Child and Parental Alienation unfortunately is.

    At least one can guess that lawyers who are interested in any kind of collaborative approach are likely to be the kind who are going to be more aware and helpful of the perils for those even more entrenched families.

    Anyway, I can now recommend a short booklet guide to Collaborative Divorce by Gillian Bishop (and others) at Family Law in Partnership (flip.co.uk). The guide is for families, but I think that makes it useful too for other interested professionals. I certainly learned some important lessons from this that helped explain where some of my more amateurish efforts with separated families were a bit wobbly. She says there’s also a good mediation booklet too.

    You can get the booklet in the following ways:
    Hard copy via the website Bulk purchase discounts – email lv@flip.co.uk. The ebook from Amazon:

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