coercive control

The Family Court: Domestic Abuse, Coercive Control, Parental Alienation and False Allegations

Join us to learn more about the family court and its treatment of victims and perpetrators of abuse, coercive control, parental alienation and false allegations. Subscribe to our podcast channel and get reminders to know when we next publish.

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The CAFCASS ‘Tool’ for Assessing Coercive Control

Coercive behaviour is defined as “an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. Coercive control involves repeated, ongoing, intentional tactics which are used to limit the liberty of the victim.

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CAFCASS Assessments: Parental Alienation

As part of their Child Impact Assessment Framework (CIAF), CAFCASS have guidance on how to assess families and how they work with children where there is parental alienation.

The links in this blog will show you exactly what the Family Court Adviser (FCA) will use to assess or analyse your family and you can see exactly what CAFCASS thinks is useful.  FCAs are expected to follow these processes although they do have discretion in how they conduct their assessments.

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CAFCASS Assessments: The Child Impact Assessment Framework (CIAF)

The Child Impact Assessment Framework (CIAF) sets out how CAFCASS think children experience parental separation, how the child’s reaction can be understood and what should be done. The framework consists of four guides which Cafcass practitioners can use to assess different types of problem, known as ‘case factors’.

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CAFCASS: Child Contact Interventions and the Separated Parents Information Programme

CAFCASS describe Child Contact Interventions (CCIs) as short-term interventions of supervised contact.  They are designed to help adults and children establish safe and beneficial contact when it is difficult to do on their own. CAFCASS consider CCIs should be a ‘learning opportunity’ for parents with input from the Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP). 

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CAFCASS interventions/assessments: The Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme (DAPP)

If you’re being assessed by CAFCASS, we’d love to hear what it’s like for you.
The DAPP is run for CAFCASS by independent providers (see the Directory of Providers).  It aims to help people who have been abusive towards their partners or ex-partners to change their behaviour and develop respectful, non-abusive relationships. CAFCASS says that a DAPP can make an important difference to the lives of those involved, including the children but it can be challenging.  The court’s decisions about contact will be based on the progress made in the programme.

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How do I know if I’m being manipulated?

Manipulation is controlling someone or something to your own advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly. It’s an emotionally unhealthy strategy used by people who are incapable of asking for what they want and need in a direct way. Someone who tries to manipulate you is trying to control you. Manipulative behaviour involves the three key features of fear, obligation and guilt.  So, if you feel guilty or under pressure due to a sense of obligation towards someone and fearful of failing them, take heed, it might be that you’re being manipulated. 

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Parental Alienation: Coping With A Manipulative Ex

Parents who are in conflict with their exes over the arrangements for their children often find that they have been drawn into a repeated pattern of damaging emotional reactions and behaviour.  Their ex is able to manipulate them, deliberately provoking them and knowing what will cause a reaction. To prevent this you must distance yourself from the adult but not from the child.  Distancing yourself means having no conversation and no meetings. If that is impossible without help here is an adapted version of the 12 steps which could be a guide to achieving the necessary balance

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CAFCASS Part 3: The Section 7 (S7) report

The CAFCASS website explains how they consider these cases and how they deal specifically with allegations of domestic abuse, high conflict cases, parental alienation, substance abuse and mental illness. 
The CAFCASS worker preparing the report will decide what enquiries to make based on what the court has asked them to look into. This may include talking to children (depending on their age and understanding) about their wishes and feelings and what they would like to happen.

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