World Health Organisation adopts Parental Alienation as part of International Classification of Diseases

18 June 2019

The ICD is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and is the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. As a result, Parental Alienation is now a recognised health disorder which negatively affects children and parents and has been listed as a criminal offence in several countries worldwide.

Parental Alienation can be defined as when a child allies himself or herself strongly with one parent and rejects a relationship with the other parent without legitimate justification despite a previous warm and loving relationship. 

The announcement by the WHO comes just days after the International Parental Alienation Awareness Conference was held at Dublin’s Trinity College during which issues and solutions were discussed around the support of children, mothers, fathers and extended family members experiencing significant forms of emotional abuse and coercive control.

The unique conference entitled, In the Best Interests of the Child; Exploring Parental Alienation and Estrangement included several world leading professional experts and was organised to educate and raise awareness of professionals working in the area of family services. The overall aim of the conference is to transform silent non gendered abuse into one that can be recognised and responded to with evidence based best practice models of intervention focused on the needs of the child or young person.

Speaking on Parental Alienation in Ireland, Brian O’Sullivan, Consultant Systemic Family Psychotherapist and Expert on Parental Alienation said;

“The first fundamental step to bringing about transformative change in the way society addresses this form of child abuse is to enable the suffering of  children and parents to be heard and for Parental Alienation to be formally recognised by the powers that be in Ireland in our respective government departments such as those in Health, Children and Young Person’s and the Justice systems of our country.  We believe that with the future education and adequate resourcing of the future Parental Alienation Act, and with political leadership, Ireland can be a leading European example on how to deal with Parental Alienation sensitively and effectively for the victims and the perpetrators.”