The latest confirmation of the unacceptability of the usage of the "parental alienation" concept, and its harmful consequences comes from the GREVIO expert group (which monitors the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, ratified by the Republic of Serbia in 2013), in the assessment to the Republic of Croatia (September 6, 2023).
In connection with Art. 31 - Custody and visitation rights, which refers to the obligation to take into account violence when entrusting the child and determining the model of contact with the parent, and that the exercise of these rights does not endanger the rights and safety of the woman or children, GREVIO recommendation for Croatia (paragraph 196 ), in point e) says:
“[...] ensure that all professionals concerned, particularly those working in the justice system, the social services and the medical, psychological and psychiatric sector, are alerted to the lack of any scientific foundation for what is called "parental alienation syndrome", as well as for any other approach or principle that tends to consider mothers who invoke the violence as "uncooperative" and "unfit" as a parent, and refrain from blaming them for the poor relationship between a violent parent and his children.”
Considering the fact that the "knowledge" of the professionals in Serbia about the concept of "parental alienation" comes from Croatia (training, manuals), this recommendation is significant for Serbia as well.
Also, on September 13, 2023, the Government of the Republic of Croatia presented a package of new legal amendments to protect women and children, including instructions for rejecting the concept of "parental alienation" and prescribing the obligation to consider claims about violence when entrusting children.
The Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy of the Republic of Croatia sent (September 5, 2023) a letter (instructions) to all competent actors in social protection not to use the concept of "parental alienation" referring to the GREVIO recommendation (letter attached). They also announced a revision of the rulebook and other by-laws in the area of social protection in order to remove this disputed concept.
We remind you that the Republic of Serbia did not implement the GREVIO recommendation that refers to Art. 31 - Custody and visitation rights (paragraphs 166-172), although it was given as urgent, nor did the Conclusions on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Committee of the Parties, especially points 5 and 6, which refer to the protection of children who are witnesses of domestic violence.
The Autonomous Women's Center informed the competent ministries, professional bodies, independent bodies for the protection of citizens' rights, citizens' associations dealing with the protection of women's and children's rights, and all centers for social work and courts dealing with cases of family law protection about this recommendation, expecting them to do everything in accordance with their powers and roles to guarantee the safety of children witnesses and victims of domestic violence in the system of family law protection, their access to support services (including long-term psychological support), the obligation to, when deciding on custody and entrusting children and children's rights on the contact with the parent, take into account the harmful consequences for child witnesses and victims of domestic violence, as well as their safety and well-being, and to exclude the use of the unscientific concept of "parental alienation" and related terminological variations.
The GREVIO report for the Republic of Croatia is available HERE.
An overview of the actions of the Government of the Republic of Croatia aimed at protecting women and children from violence is available HERE.
The Croatian Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy letter addressed to the social protection sector is available HERE.
The GREVIO report for the Republic of Serbia is available HERE.
The conclusions on implementing the recommendations made by the Committee of the Parties are available HERE.