Interdisciplinary training on issues of parental alienation for a mixed group of magistrates and other professionals

08-11-2023 16:39

49 judges and prosecutors from district and county level, state bailiffs and social workers took part in the hybrid training organized by the National Institute of Justice on: "The alienation of the child in the hypotheses of domestic violence and parental conflicts". 

It took place on 6 and 7 November 2023 under the guidance of a multidisciplinary team of professionals with established expertise in the field and provided an opportunity to learn about understanding parental alienation in a legal, psychological and psychiatric context.

Prof. D.J. Shazia Choudhry, Professor of Law at the University of Oxford, examined the content of the concept of parental alienation according to the main theories that affirm it. She drew particular attention to the current debate internationally on the use of this concept and the dangers of neglecting the best interests of the child, including in situations of domestic violence. Proffesor Choudhry provided a comparative overview of best practices in the field adopted by some European and other countries and highlighted key factors that national judges should consider in their work on cases involving parental conflict and domestic violence to ensure a child-centred and violence-informed approach.

Judge Galya Valkova of the State Court of Justice examined the applicability of Article 59(6) of the Civil Code in the context of the right to family life and the alienation of the child as a result of domestic violence. Sample assignments to forensic psychological and psychiatric evaluations will be reviewed to fully explore family relationships and the parent-child relationship.

The psychological assessment of parental alienation and its impact on the mental health of the child was presented by forensic experts Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aneta Atanasova, child and clinical psychologist and Dr. Elena Mihaylova, child psychiatrist.

During the practical sessions, the participants discussed the applicability of the newly acquired knowledge in their practice, as well as the possibilities to improve their interaction in their joint work on cases related to the alienation of the child from the non-custodial parent.

The training event is organized under the project “Prevention and Counteraction of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence”, implemented with the support of the Justice Programme of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021