To better inform further discussion on parental alienation, my Department arranged for research to be carried out last year. The aims of the research included:
- Identify the various definitions and characteristics of parental alienation being used internationally;
- Investigate what is known about the prevalence of this issue (in Ireland or internationally) through examination of the literature;
- Identify and outline the various approaches and responses being taken in other jurisdictions to deal with the issue of parental alienation (legislative and otherwise); and
- Describe, outline and evaluate any studies which have examined the effectiveness of these various international approaches and assess the relevance of these studies to the Irish context.
I am pleased to say that a draft report was received by my Department at the end of November. This report was reviewed and my officials have engaged with the authors regarding some clarifications on the initial draft. The authors have agreed to undertake some further work on the report.
It is also my intention to commence a public consultation on the topic shortly. Both the research and consultation will, I expect, create a deeper understanding of the issue, and inform my Department’s consideration of policy and law in this area.