Brady under pressure as sex abuse victims talk of cover-up, The Parental Alienation Debate Belongs in the Courtroom, Not in DSM-5

May 2, 2012 Comments Off on Brady under pressure as sex abuse victims talk of cover-up, The Parental Alienation Debate Belongs in the Courtroom, Not in DSM-5

articles
– Brady under pressure as sex abuse victims talk of cover-up
– Fresh claims put pressure on Cardinal Brady
– The Parental Alienation Debate Belongs in the Courtroom, Not in DSM-5

Brady under pressure as sex abuse victims talk of cover-up
By Greg Harkin
Tuesday May 01 2012

CHURCH leaders will come under renewed pressure when a BBC documentary is screened tonight outlining the widespread cover-up of clerical sex abuse here.

‘This World: The Shame of the Catholic Church’ is said to focus on Cardinal Sean Brady’s role in an ecclesiastical investigation that led to the silencing of two victims of Fr Brendan Smyth.

Victims of paedophile priests in Co Donegal will also tell how the church failed to deal with complaints which allowed one cleric to  continue to abuse more victims.

The broadcaster has refused to comment on the investigation by reporter Darragh Mac Intyre but BBC sources say the documentary has “powerful
testimony” from abuse victims. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/brady-under-pressure-as-sex-abuse-victims-talk-of-coverup-3096117.html

Fresh claims put pressure on Cardinal Brady
By Andy Martin BBC News
1 May 2012

Cardinal Brady became the Catholic Primate of all-Ireland in 1996, but the appointment that may define his career was made 21 years earlier.

As a Bishop’s secretary in 1975, he was tasked with investigating a complaint of sexual abuse made against a fellow priest, the man who would later be exposed as Ireland’s most prolific paedophile, Fr Brendan Smyth….

Following two major and damning reports into the handling of clerical abuse in Ireland, it emerged that Ireland’s most senior Catholic Priest had himself been involved in a process in which sex abuse was kept from the civil authorities….

However, McIntyre’s BBC investigation reveals that the teenage victim, Brendan Boland, had also told the then Father Brady and his colleagues, about other children who were being abused by Smyth.

He even furnished the investigating priest and his colleagues with their names and addresses.

Father Brady interviewed one of those boys, who corroborated each of Brendan Boland’s claims before being sworn to secrecy.

Father Brady however, failed to inform any parent of the children in the group that they had been abused. Nor were the police told of Smyth’s crimes against them. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17853126

The Parental Alienation Debate Belongs in the Courtroom, Not in DSM-5
Timothy M. Houchin, MD, John Ranseen, PhD, Phillip A. K. Hash, DO, PhD and Daniel J. Bartnicki, JD
J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 40:1:127-131 (January 2012) – the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

The DSM-5 Task Force is presently considering whether to adopt parental alienation disorder (PAD) as a mental illness. Although controversy has surrounded PAD since its inception in 1985, pro-PAD groups and individuals have breathed new life into the push to establish it as a mental health diagnosis. In this analysis, we argue that it would be a serious mistake to adopt parental alienation disorder as a formal mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)….

The Origin of PAS

Richard Gardner, formerly a psychoanalyst and child psychiatrist on the clinical faculty at Columbia University, introduced the term parental alienation syndrome in his 1985 debut article on the subject….he openly supported abolishing child abuse reporting laws and controversially declared that sexual abuse cases are “turn-ons” for those involved in the court process, including lawyers and judges. Despite these unusual claims, Gardner was highly sought as an expert witness, testifying in over 400 child custody cases before the end of his career….

Controversial since its inception, PAS has compelled many scholars to write articles critical of Gardner’s theory. Kelly and Johnston have been noteworthy critics of PAS, writing in their 2001 article, “The Alienated Child, A Reformulation of Parental Alienation Syndrome, ” that “PAS terminology has led to widespread confusion and misunderstanding in judicial, legal, and psychological circles” (Ref. 9, p 250). They also highlighted the lack of empirical support for PAS as a psychiatric diagnosis and the barring of PAS testimony in many courtrooms….

Criticisms of PAS have not been limited to mental health professionals, as legal scholars have also been loath to accept the premise that parental alienation should be formally classified as a mental illness. For example, in her 2002 article, “Parental Alienation Syndrome and Alienation: Getting it Wrong in Child Custody Cases,”12 Carol S. Bruch, JD, voiced concern with Gardner’s tendency to cite his own, non-peer-reviewed books and publications on PAS. She noted that in one typical article, Gardner cited 10 sources: 9 writings of his own and 1 by Sigmund Freud. She further refuted Gardner’s suggestion that PAS was a generally accepted psychiatric phenomenon by pointing out that, when the validity of PAS was challenged in court, his testimony was often excluded.

In our opinion, Gardner’s approach of self-publishing books and then citing himself as an authoritative reference in the scholarly literature went beyond simple self-aggrandizement; it was frankly misleading. We agree with Ms. Bruch that the inaccurate portrayal of PAS as an accepted and credible diagnosis gets it wrong on many levels. http://www.jaapl.org/content/40/1/127.full

The Myth of Parental Alienation Syndrome, Sybil in her own words

November 30, 2011 Comments Off on The Myth of Parental Alienation Syndrome, Sybil in her own words

The Myth of Parental Alienation Syndrome and Its Impact on Women in Child Custody Cases Thursday, December 8, 2011, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Course Description:

A diverse panel from varying disciplines will explore how the theory of ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome’ (PAS) disproportionally affects the way judges and court collaterals make decisions and recommendations in child custody determinations, focusing on New York State.

Other topics to be discussed include:

clinical and ethical issues surrounding parental alienation syndrome,
lack of clinical and empirical evidence to support PAS as valid,
biases towards using parental alienation as the defining factor in which parent receives custody, its intersection with child and intimate partner abuse, and
a first hand account of its affect on a former child involved in a custody dispute.

Faculty:

Program Co-sponsor: NYCLA’s Women’s Rights Committee

Faculty: Jennifer Collins; Nancy S. Erickson, Esq., MA Forensic Psychology ; Dr. Joyanna Silberg, Executive V.P. of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence (Psychologist); Garland Waller, Professor of Television, Boston University

http://www.nycla.org/index.cfm?section=CLE&page=CLE_Detail&itemID=2554&dateID=20111208

“SYBIL in her own words: The Untold Story of Shirley Mason, Her Multiple Personalities and Paintings”

A kindle version is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/SYBIL-her-words-Personalities-ebook/dp/B0067QMNVU/

A paperback version is available at: http://www.amazon.com/SYBIL-her-own-words-Personalities/dp/0615560474/

Parental Alienation Syndrome: Another Alarming DSM-5 Proposal

June 10, 2011 Comments Off on Parental Alienation Syndrome: Another Alarming DSM-5 Proposal

“Parental Alienation Syndrome:” Another Alarming DSM-5 Proposal

Using a medicalizing label to mask child sexual abuse
by Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D. in Science Isn’t Golden

Using a medicalizing label to mask child sexual abuse
Among the scientifically unwarranted and socially dangerous proposals that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 authors have not yet seen fit to rule out is the addition of something its advocates call Parental Alienation Syndrome. This is a medical-sounding term for nothing more than “She’s a vengeful woman who’s trying to make her children tell horrific lies about their father.”

When applied to a parent in a case involving an allegation of child sexual abuse, it is nearly always applied to a woman whose child is allegedly being molested by the father. Despite not yet being in the DSM, PAS has in some courts proven an astonishingly effective vehicle for deflecting the focus from the abuser and simply claiming that the woman must be lying, and coaching her children to lie, because she has the alleged mental illness of PAS. [1] The claim is that without cause, she wants to turn the children against their father.

What often gets short shrift, as a result, is even the consideration of the possibility that the children are truly being molested….

The construct of PAS is unscientific, composed of a group of general symptoms with no empirical basis….
Major professional bodies, including the American Psychological Association, have discredited PAS on the grounds that it is misused in domestic violence cases and that there is no scientific evidence of such a “syndrome.” The more recent APA Online document Issues and Dilemmas in Family Violence…. particularly Issue 5, describes the tendency of family courts to miminize a context of violence, falsely accusing the mother of alienation and granting custody to the father in spite of his history of violence.

The National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ 2006 manual states that “parental alienation syndrome or PAS has been discredited by the scientific community” and “should therefore be ruled inadmissible” (p. 19). A number of prominent figures, including Dr. Paul J. Fink, past president of the American Psychiatric Association and president of the Leadership Council on Mental Health, Justice, and the Media, and Professor Jon R. Conte of the University of Washington Social Welfare Doctoral Faculty have also discredited PAS and its lack of scientific basis (see Bruch, 2001).

Because of the use of PAS as a tactic by many CSA perpetrators to influence decision makers and the court system, abused children have been placed in the hands of their abusers (Childress, 2006). It is estimated that “over 58,000 children a year are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce in the United States” (  http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/1.html ) and that PAS was used in a large number of these cases. [2]….
The DSM-5 editors could at any time have already struck PAS from their planned additions but have so far chosen not to.

If this alarms you, and especially if PAS has been used against you, please consider going to dsm5.org before their June 15 cutoff date for input from the public arrives, and send them your concerns. Please urge everyone else you can think of to do the same. The DSM-5 authors will do themselves and the manual’s reputation no favors if they include PAS, and they need to hear from people whom the label has harmed.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-isnt-golden/201106/parental-alienation-syndrome-another-alarming-dsm-5-proposal

Parental Alienation Disorder: Why Label Children with a Mental Diagnosis?

May 21, 2011 Comments Off on Parental Alienation Disorder: Why Label Children with a Mental Diagnosis?

also: Revealed, six decades of ‘ritual’ child abuse: Catholic schools and orphanages damned in report

Parental Alienation Disorder: Why Label Children with a Mental Diagnosis?

Journal of Child Custody Volume 7, Issue 4, 2010, Pages 266 – 286 Authors: Lenore E. Walker; David L. Shapiro
DOI: 10.1080/15379418.2010.521041

Abstract
The proposal to include Parental Alienation Disorder (PAD) in the new proposed Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) creates a host of problems. The first major problem is the labeling of children with a mental disorder who may simply be reacting with anger to the changes in their lives from the separation and divorce of their parents by rejecting one parent and aligning with the other. Diagnosis may bring with it shame and have a chilling impact on parents report of domestic violence.

Although proponents of PAD are aware that it is inappropriate to diagnose children who have been exposed to child abuse and/or domestic violence with PAD, they do not clarify how to make such differential diagnoses. It is suggested that there are insufficient empirical data to differentiate abused and traumatized children from those who are alienated or estranged from the rejected parent.

Nor are there sufficient scientific data to account for other child vulnerabilities such as neurological immaturity, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), other anxiety and mood disorders, or oppositional defiant disorder. There are too few comparisons between the risks and benefits of adding a new diagnosis of childhood disorders to justify its inclusion in the DSM-V.

Appropriate intervention strategies recommended for PAD children include contact with the rejected parent, which differ widely from trauma victim/survivors who need assurance of safety and healing before contact is re-established. Ethical standards that may be impacted by this new diagnosis and admissibility issues raised by its predecessor, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), are also discussed by the authors.

“As discussed, alienation is almost always alleged when the child does not want to be with a parent when there does not appear to be any ‘rational’ reason for these feelings. Of course, the definition of ‘‘rational’’ in these cases remains totally subjective to the person making the evaluation. Although proponents of labeling these children with PAD claim that using this label will assist in formulation of treatment goals and techniques, there are no empirical data to support this position (Bernet, 2010). Using the definition put forward by the American Psychological Association (APA) which requires two scientific studies replicating each other, there are no empirically validated interventions that support evidence that forcing a child to be with an unwanted parent will promote mental health.” (p.270-271)

“PROPOSED DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR PAD AND MAKING A DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS….Perhaps the most egregious part of this newly proposed diagnosis is the impossibility of making a differential diagnosis based on the child’s signs and symptoms and not the parents’ alleged behavior. Johnston (2010) discussed the confusion currently in the courts dealing with PAS=PAD and, in particular, defining who is alienated, the rejected parent or the child? There are so many explanations other than alienation for a child’s rejection of a parent during separation or divorce that to give children a new mental illness diagnosis is neither necessary nor appropriate. Surely anxiety disorders including PTSD from abuse are primary as has been discussed herein, as are other mood disorders, particularly depression. The criteria for children’s depression often include acting-out behavior and rejection of people and things that they used to like to do.
(p. 276 – 277)

“It is not appropriate to diagnose a child with a mental illness based on the parents’ behavior. In many cases known to the authors, both in practice and in supervision of other forensic evaluators, the child’s behavior could have been diagnosed as an adjustment disorder with anxiety or depression. Separation and divorce often means a new home or even two homes, new schools, new friends, and new schedules. Even when all goes well this can be a daunting challenge for most children.” (p. 277) http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/15379418.2010.521041

full article pdf and web page until 12/31/11 http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/903178__930160339.pdf http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/section?content=a930160339&fulltext=713240928

Revealed, six decades of ‘ritual’ child abuse: Catholic schools and orphanages damned in report
By Tom Kelly 21st May 2009
Abuse was ‘endemic’ in childrens’ institutions
Safety of children in general was not a consideration
No abusers will be prosecuted
Victims banned from launch of shocking report

Church leaders and government watchdogs covered up ‘endemic’ and ‘ritualised’ abuse of thousands of children in Roman Catholic schools and orphanages in the Irish Republic, a shocking report revealed yesterday.

For six decades, priests and nuns terrorised boys and girls in the workhouse-style schools with sexual, physical and mental abuse.

But officials in Ireland’s Catholic Church shielded paedophile staff from arrest to protect their own reputations despite knowing they were serial attackers, according to the 2,600-page report, which took nine years to complete.

Irish government inspectors also failed to stop the chronic beatings, rape and humiliation, it found.

About 35,000 children and teenagers who were orphans, petty thieves, truants, unmarried mothers or from dysfunctional families were sent to Ireland’s network of 250 Church-run industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s up until the early 1990s.

The report by Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse found ‘a climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys’.

It added: ‘Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from.’

Judge Sean Ryan, who chaired the commission, said that when confronted with evidence of sex abuse, religious authorities responded by moving the sex offenders to another location, where in many instances they were free to abuse again.

‘There was evidence that such men took up teaching positions sometimes within days of receiving dispensations because of serious allegations or admissions of sexual abuse,’ the report said.

‘The safety of children in general was not a consideration.’….
The report found that molestation and rape were ‘endemic’ in boys’ facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers order.

Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.

‘In some schools a high level of ritualised beating was routine,’ the report said. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1184828/Revealed-decades-ritual-child-abuse-Catholic-schools-orphanages-damned-report.html

California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody

March 3, 2011 Comments Off on California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody

California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody
By Peter Jamison Wednesday, Mar 2 2011

….advocates of reform say a few widespread problems lead to poor court decisions, such as inadequate procedures for investigating abuse; the use of controversial and potentially dangerous psychological theories about child welfare; and a prejudice toward joint parental custody, even when one parent is clearly violent. Compounding these issues, critics say, is a lack of accountability for judges, attorneys, custody evaluators, and other court personnel, who enjoy immunity from lawsuits even in cases where they make decisions that do obvious harm to children and parents.

“The family court system is supposed to work in the best interests of the child, but very infrequently does that happen,” says Susan Wilde, a Berkeley psychologist and expert on child abuse intervention. “Families find themselves in the grip of a system that has no responsibility to them or to the children, that just kind of runs amok.”….

PAS was coined by Richard Gardner, a child psychiatrist affiliated with Columbia University, to describe what he believed was a form of brainwashing that took place in the context of divorce proceedings. According to Gardner, the condition arises when a parent — usually, but not always, the mother — “programs” a child to hold delusions of sexual abuse by the father. Armed with this theory, Gardner hired himself out as an expert witness in family courts across the country, appearing on behalf of men seeking to discredit sex-abuse allegations.

Yet many questioned the scientific basis of his work. Gardner’s research consisted for the most part on his personal observations as a clinician, rather than systematic, peer-reviewed studies. PAS has never been accepted into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the psychiatrist’s bible of known conditions. The syndrome has also been denounced by professional groups including the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family, which view it as a ploy for obscuring a court’s inquiries into allegations of child abuse.

“Alienation is being used in almost every case where a child is taken from a safe parent and placed with a dangerous parent,” says Kathleen Russell, executive director of the Mill Valley–based Center for Judicial Excellence, a family-court reform group. “It’s a legal tactic.”

Gardner’s ideas are also controversial in light of provocative statements he made criticizing society’s condemnation of pedophiles, and seeking to portray adult-child sexual contact as normal. “Pedophilia has been considered the norm by the vast majority of individuals in the history of the world,” he wrote in the 1992 book True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse. In the same book, he suggested wives of pedophiles masturbate in order to increase their own sex appeal, reasoning that “increased sexuality may lessen the need for her husband to return to their daughter for sexual gratification.”
http://www.sfweekly.com/2011-03-02/news/family-court-parental-alienation-syndrome-richard-gardner-pedophilia-domestic-violence-child-abuse-judges-divorce/

CA Family Courts Helping Pedophiles Get Child Custody
By James R. Marsh on March 2, 2011

According to this article in SF Weekly,
Looking out for the children who find themselves in the middle of bitter divorces is the most important function of the state’s family courts, and arguably one of the most significant duties of the judiciary as a whole. Yet evidence has mounted in recent years that it is a responsibility in which family court officials are sometimes failing dramatically.
Interviews with dozens of parents, activists, lawyers, judges, children, and former family court employees, as well as a review of hundreds of pages of family and criminal court documents, indicate that the system’s methods for assessing whether child sexual abuse or spousal battery has taken place — findings that are critical to deciding whether a parent should retain custody of or visitation rights with a child — fall short of the standards accepted by domestic-violence experts and the criminal-justice community.
http://www.childlaw.us/2011/03/ca-family-courts-helping-pedop.html

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