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Intimate partner violence against women is a key factor in childcare decisions, attest women's law experts



On May 31, 2019, The United Nations Platform of Independent Mechanisms on the Elimination of Discrimination and Violence Against Women (EDVAW Platform)  published a joint declaration in which it was expreesed their concern on worldwide violence against women and children through the States lack of diligence while deciding on child custody and visitation in cases involving domestic violence. 

Amongst the many problems identified, a special attention was given to the violations ocurring through the use of the concepts of parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome:

"The experts further discouraged the abuse of the “Parental Alienation”4 and of similar concepts and terms invoked to deny child custody to the mother and grant it to a father accused of domestic violence in a manner that totally disregards the possible risks for the child. In this regard, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belem do Para Convention (MESECVI), in the 2014 Declaration on Violence against Women, Girls and Adolescents and their Sexual and Reproductive Rights, recommends to explicitly prohibit, during the investigations to determine the existence of violence, “evidence based on the discrediting testimony on the basis of alleged Parental Alienation Syndrome”. The experts also expressed concern for the recent inclusion of “parental alienation” as an index term in the new WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a “Caregiver-child relationship problem” that could be misused if applied without taking into consideration above-mentioned international standards that require that incidents of violence against women are taken into account and that the exercise of any visitation or custody rights does not jeopardize the rights and safety of the victim or children. Accusations of parental alienation by abusive fathers against mothers must be considered as a continuation of power and control by state agencies and actors, including those deciding on child custody."


Original EDVAW Platform Final Report available at:


The United Nations Platform of Independent Mechanisms on Eliminating Discrimination and Violence Against Women (EDVAW Platform) available at:

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