#182 Mother's Rights: Challenging the Family Court

September 08, 2022 FiLiA Episode 182
#182 Mother's Rights: Challenging the Family Court
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#182 Mother's Rights: Challenging the Family Court
Sep 08, 2022 Episode 182

"A lot of the messages around domestic abuse is that you just leave, right? So you just walk out that door and everything's fine. Well, that really couldn’t be further from the truth."

FiLiA Trustee Sally Jackson talks to Natalie Page, founder of #thecourtsaid, a campaign to challenge the mishandling of domestic abuse within the family courts. 

Natalie discusses the problems faced by Mothers navigating their way through a process that is not fit for purpose and shares some of the options available and the work that she and other women are doing to provide safety to Mums and their children going through the system.

In 2021, Natalie was awarded the Centre for Women’s Justice and Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize for her work preventing violence against women and children. She has founded a not-for-profit called Survivor Family Network, focused on furthering the rights of mothers and children in family court. Besides all her campaigning work, Natalie continues to work behind the scenes to support other mothers going through the family courts after domestic abuse  Web: and

Show Notes Transcript

"A lot of the messages around domestic abuse is that you just leave, right? So you just walk out that door and everything's fine. Well, that really couldn’t be further from the truth."

FiLiA Trustee Sally Jackson talks to Natalie Page, founder of #thecourtsaid, a campaign to challenge the mishandling of domestic abuse within the family courts. 

Natalie discusses the problems faced by Mothers navigating their way through a process that is not fit for purpose and shares some of the options available and the work that she and other women are doing to provide safety to Mums and their children going through the system.

In 2021, Natalie was awarded the Centre for Women’s Justice and Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize for her work preventing violence against women and children. She has founded a not-for-profit called Survivor Family Network, focused on furthering the rights of mothers and children in family court. Besides all her campaigning work, Natalie continues to work behind the scenes to support other mothers going through the family courts after domestic abuse  Web: and

Sally Jackson from FiLiA in conversation with Natalie Page – 2021 winner of the Emma Humphries Award. #thecourtsaid – The Survivor Family Network.

SJ - My name is Sally Jackson, I’m a FiLiA volunteer and I'm delighted today to be speaking with Natalie Page. She was last year's winner of the Emma Humphries Memorial prize for her activism and campaigning for mother's rights. We are proud that she's also part of the FiLiA VAWG team and I'm looking forward to talking with her about that today.

So Natalie, thanks for joining us. It's really lovely to chat to you. Our paths have crossed a few times now and I've been so excited by the work that you've been doing and the difference you've made. And I think probably first became aware of your work with the campaign #thecourtsaid.

Can you tell me little bit about you started this campaign and what was it that you were hoping to achieve with it? 

NP - I started the campaign #thecourtsaid after spending about nine years in Family Court almost continuously, and I was really struggling with the whole experience.

I reached out to other women at the time, and I spent a lot of time, like learning as much as I could. I spent some time studying law as well. And when I reached out to other women, I noticed that this was a really serious and systemic issue. Before I reached out to other women. I actually thought that I was doing something really wrong and that it must have been something that I'd done to result in such continuous, stressful and traumatic litigation. And to be in a situation living with long term post separation abuse. 

But when I reached out to other women, I knew that that wasn't the case. That it wasn't something that I necessarily had done wrong and that there was this huge issue that I think there were people talking about it at the time, but I didn't really notice at the time when I was beginning my journey into this activism, that there were many people speaking about it from the perspective of mothers and children, in terms of the Cafcass nature of the system, and also the long term trauma that you experience going through it. And also with the ideological aspects to it, like with counteracting, continual allegations of parental alienation. 

 So when I started reaching out, I saw all of that and that's when I decided that I was going to try to make a bit of a difference and speak up a bit. And it was quite terrifying because obviously there's a lot of laws around transparency in Family Courts. So initially it really was something quite brave to do, I think, because a lot of women risk their freedoms to open their mouth to talk about this stuff.

So I wanted to break down some barriers. 

SJ - And, and I think that was one of the very powerful things about that campaign, the very nature of the secrecy of the Family Court. I think we'd taken some strides in the criminal justice system, although there's still a hell of a lot of work to do there.

Likewise, there'd been some work around improving what civil law could give us around non molestation occupation orders, et cetera. But Family Court had kind of like, because of that ‘privacy’ the issues and what was happening there, women and wider society, just weren't aware of some of the startling decisions that were being made that don't seem to have any reference to safety of the child, welfare of the child, let alone the mother, but no one was aware because nobody could talk about it. 

NP - This is true. And I'm continually amazed about some of the decisions that are made behind the closed doors of the Family Court.

And one thing that struck me so much when I went into Family Court, I went in with some previous training in safeguarding, I'd previously fostered some children. So I had some knowledge around social services and sort of how they work. And then when I walked into the courtroom, it was like, all of that went out the window. It truly is a parallel universe like Marianne Hester outlined in her amazing research, The Three Planets. And it really is the three planets. And, you know, you can throw away everything that you think you know about safeguarding about the law, about what is right, what is the just world you can quite literally chuck all that away when you walk into the doors of the Family Court. 

And I couldn't quite wrap my head around all that in the beginning about how that would be and why that would be. So I sort of made it my life's work to find out. 

SJ - And, and I think not just find out, but also share, which I know a lot of women have been so grateful for, because it's quite likely that Family Court is the first time you've had any experience with the justice system at all.

And I think probably naively, we often think the courts will look at something and come to a fair and just decision. And then when you enter that process, you become aware that, that can be very much far from the reality of what happens every day. So some of the work that you've done in amplifying some of the issues that are raised, the transparency, the ideology behind some of those decisions and why they are making these decisions, I think has really helped prepare women for getting ready for that battle through Family Court. 

NP - Yeah. I mean, one that was really important to me and it still is because, one thing that I remember from my own journey through the Family Court is that I wouldn't be able to say much about what was going on because they put the fear of God in you about contempt of court. 

So it's very much a private battle, but at that time, people had an inkling that I was having a really hard time and they would helpfully, and they were doing this from a perspective of being quite well meaning and helpful. And they would say things like ‘oh, but they'll see it in the end’ ‘Don't worry. They know what they're doing’ all that sort of stuff. And nobody prepared me for it. If someone had just told me before I walked in, like, this is what it's like, you know, throw away everything you think you know about the justice system. It's not like that. Um, if someone had actually just given me a heads up, I think it would've been, still difficult to deal with, but you know, forewarned is forearmed, and I thought if that's the minimum that I achieve is just getting that word out there and just telling women, warning the women and the mothers, about what awaits them in the Family Court then I thought that that was quite crucial because I spent some time feeling quite annoyed. Like nobody told me, nobody told me, but of course, because of the transparency, nobody knew. 

They have this perception of a sort of a benevolent paternalistic justice system who is there to help. And the reality really couldn't be further from that, but a warning would've been great. 

SJ - I know certainly, especially when I was involved in more frontline work as well I referred a lot of women to the Confidence Course. And that came out of some of the learning that you had from what women were telling you, but it was kind of like recognising what are the things that you need to have ready to go into that battle with the Family Court.

NP -  Definitely. I mean, there's a lot of people that are going it alone and I think with the cost of living now that's going to increase. So I wanted to create something that really helped litigants in person, but also similarly, there's a lot of parts of the court process that even if you have a full legal team, they can't do it for you. You are on your own when you're dealing with cafcas and social workers, and they are part of the process, which can really make or break your case. 

So things like being able to handle, sometimes quite brutal cross examination, for example, you need some coping tools. You need to understand how they construct a cross examination so that you're not on the back foot because primary purpose over cross-examination is obviously to get to the truth of the matter, but they do that by unsettling a witness.

So, understanding the situation that you're in and understanding the strategies and the tactics is so important because it helps women raise their skill level in order to deal with it and to deal with it well. So that's the basis of the court Confidence Course, really. I mean, there's elements of the law in there, but it's actually very little about the law.

It's more about the street knowledge. What actually happens, how do I handle this and where do I go when it's all finished? Where do I go from here? Hundreds and hundreds of women have been through that course and all have found it useful and effective. And I think it's also helped create a lot of safer outcomes that may or may not have been achieved otherwise.

SJ - I'm absolutely sure it has as you say, that that sort of forewarned is forearmed and just understanding some of the process and the way in which the system works can help women to be prepared and sort of recognise not just what they want to say, but what they need to say for their children's benefit for them to get the outcome that they're hoping for. 

The work that you've done with the campaign, and then in developing the course has led to what we now have as a survivor's family network. Could you tell me a little bit about that and the work that's going on underneath the network?

NP - Yeah I'm quite proud of this. I launched the Survivor Family Network and we provide research resources, consultancy and courses. And again, the whole premise of it is to raise the skillset of the survivor community, but also to try and bridge the gaps with professionals as well, sort of meet us in the middle.

We are going to be doing a lot more with Survivor Family Network going forward thanks to the FiLiA legacy project. We have some groups which we are going to be piloting in Cardiff in the autumn, which I'm really excited about. And I would like to grow that into a national network of face to face groups for mothers, with a group leader who understands the system. And again, it will be all about providing that all important emotional support, but also raising crucial skills that you need to be able to navigate the process of the Family Court.

SJ -  I understand you're being excited because the courses are great, but that opportunity also to have face to face work and the support that women get from each other.

And we know in all sorts of different ways and in all sorts of different areas, when you get women together, they're a powerful force, not just for whatever they're working on, but to each other as well. 

NP - Definitely. I completely agree with that. I think that when you group women together, it allows them to wrap the arms of the sisterhood around each other and support each other and raise each other up. And there is just no substitute for that. 

So I'm so excited about these groups. I'm really looking forward to getting out there. And obviously a lot of this work has been done during the pandemic which meant that we're all constantly behind screens. So it's going be lovely to actually get out and to meet people and sort of see those groups and the people within those groups sort of growing, blossoming and starting to move on from the experience. 

Obviously if you are in Family Court, as a result of domestic abuse, trauma is a huge issue. This is a deeply traumatic thing to go through by any stretch of the imagination. So I think providing that group of other women who understand, and who know, will be a lifeline for many.

SJ -  Absolutely. And you raise a really good point there because I think Family Court would be tough if you went into it feeling emotionally strong and resilient with lots of energy but the reality is the reason that you are in Family Court is because there will have been, previous to that, a lot of trauma issues either directly for yourself where you may have been at harm emotionally, physically, or psychologically, and likewise the same for your children. So you are often not in a place where you've even had any space to start healing from that process when actually you’re thrust into the Family Court because of it's a continuation of that post separation abuse. It's the last power that the perpetrator has to hold you through that system and to abuse you through that system. 

What would be the things, if you were aware a woman came up to you and said, you know, I'm just about to start proceedings for the Family Court and I know there's so much detail in the courses but what would be your sort of like your first aid kit? What are some of the basics that she just might need to, to prepare herself for? 

NP - I think it entirely depends on the situation, but I would say that if a survivor has children, things become deeply complex and I think just having an understanding of the complexities of the system and being aware of what they're walking into, but also having some skills to be able to walk into that system. So no matter how hard it is, you've got to do it, it’s not optional. So I really think that just learning a bit about it, not so much to terrify.

I'm quite conscious of that because a lot of the information that we actually share is scary. I mean, it is scary and there's a fine line between providing enough information to warn somebody, to sort of say, hang on a minute, don't underestimate this, and then and scaring them after death. So I think to prepare for it would be to learn about it, but also to learn some of the skills that you need to be able to deal with it confidently. 

And another thing I think about is preparing women for a continuation of the trauma. Like a lot of the messages around domestic abuse is that you just leave, right? So you just walk out that door and everything's fine. Well, that really couldn’t be further from the truth. It's a very long process in fact, just leaving.

 I think sort of preparing women for that reality is really important because if you are prepared and you are fairly educated about it and you are navigating the situation quite effectively, it should shorten the journey. My mission there is to make sure that other women aren't in court for nine years, like I was.

I think everything should be geared to making it sort of as quick and as painless as possible. 

SJ - Because then of course you get to a point and a space where both you and your children can start healing, the space for the emotional work that you need to do for yourself and for your children and between you and your children to, to move forward and start again and look forward to that new life free from abuse.

NP - Definitely, and starting again and just leaving really shouldn't take nine years after you've left, physically left. So I really think that if we, like I say, raise the skills in the survivor community we should get people moving towards safer outcomes in a more timely way.

SJ - I think for me as I got more familiar with the Family Court, probably the most shocking thing, and there's a few things to shock you in the Family Court, but it's this whole notion of so-called parental alienation. And it's something that we hear talked about as if it's a real thing, but primarily and bizarrely being used to basically turn around the victim and the offender. And when a woman says I'm frightened that this man might hurt my children, because here's the evidence of what's happened before and his behaviour to me, to the children, to others, et cetera, to show you, as a court, what a dangerous man he is.

Parental alienation enables the perpetrator to turn that round to ‘She's just being horrid. She's not a good mum’ And all these things that you say become further evidence of your so-called parental alienation, rather than clearly evidence of an abusive man who could be a danger to his children. 

Can you tell us a little bit about some of the struggles around being in court once that has parental alienation has been brought up as an issue?

NP - Parental alienation is actually just a humongous topic. It really is. I guess, at the basic level, we ask our community quite regularly about parental alienation. Obviously we have a self-selecting sample, but around about 90% of our following have been accused of parental alienation in the context of a domestic abuse case.

Now, other surveys are being done about that. And obviously because they've sourced it from a wider community, that has gone down a little bit, but it actually went down to about 80%. So it really is a standard strategy for a domestic abuser. Like you say, it's all about DARVO, which is reversing victim and offender.

And it's like kryptonite for a survivor of domestic abuse and it becomes the proverbial brick wall that you're up against, because what happens is, is you go in with domestic abuse and they say, no, she's lying. She's just trying to stop me from seeing my kids. And we see, even the police, when women are reporting post-separation abuse, harassment, stalking, all sorts of behaviours after separation, we find that once they've said parental alienation, just the fact that they have PR parental responsibility or that they've shared their DNA seems to excuse perpetrators of any and all crime.

 In the Family Court setting, it becomes an issue all of its own. It doesn't always go like this, but quite often, and too often, I would say, is a survivor of domestic abuse can have lots of evidence about the abuse. But the minute she tries to act protectively towards her children and seek to limit his involvement for good safeguarding reasons, it is positioned as a strategy of alienation.

If parental alienation so-called experts get involved, then even allegations that of abuse are actually viewed as a symptom of alienation. So all common sense goes out the window because really the main cause of a domestic abuse allegation or any abuse allegation is abuse. That's the leading cause of an abuse allegation. But in Family Court, when you are dealing with this ideology of parental alienation, it becomes that those allegations are then viewed as symptoms or as part of a strategy on behalf of the person who's reporting abuse to sort of remove the other parent from the children's life.

That also couldn’t be further from the truth, because not all survivors want no contact, some of them need that, but not all of them do. Most of the time mothers are just simply trying to protect their children from further harm. But those protective actions, when you put the lens of parental alienation over it, become part of a darker strategy. That's how it's portrayed. 

Like I said, it's like kryptonite because whatever you do, the tables are flipped against you and is all positioned as being part of this alienation. It has no clinical basis. It's been discredited all over the world. Banned in some parts and it's not fit for use in children's cases. But these experts tend to get around that by the fact that they're unregulated. So there are no regulators saying you can't do that. This isn't fit for purpose. And for some reason, our justice system and justice systems around the world are absolutely wedded to this ideology. 

SJ - And, you know, as a feminist, it's an ideology which unfortunately benefits fathers and punishes mothers. So I don't think you need to dig too deep to see where your ideology is based. 

And I'm really interested about experts and you mentioned there's no regulation, but again, I think with naivety, we would assume that someone who is speaking in a court as an expert in parental alienation, would have several qualifications, lots of peer review studies to be able to refer to the research to back up their findings and, and their thoughts and certainly not be likely to benefit financially. if for instance, there should be further support to help the child deal with the fact that they've been alienated. 

NP - I think a lot of these so-called experts are relying on the lack of transparency, in a way, because they're relying on people not doing their due diligence, not really inspecting who these people are and what credentials and qualifications and regulators do they have.

Some of them are a little bit qualified. Most of them aren't. I don't think any of them have got peer reviewed studies. So, you know, I think the most important thing for mothers who are facing having a parental alienation expert come into the case, it is quite a scary juncture for a mother in Family Court.

So my first bit of advice about that would be to do your research on these experts find out if they're regulated, if they are, who by. Most of the time, if they are actually parental alienation experts, they won't be regulated because it's not clinically accepted. So there is no peer reviewed studies or any credible information surrounding it. It's purely conjecture really, it's unscientific. It's unsafe for women and children it's deeply unreliable as well, because what it does is it clouds the original reason that these people have ended up in court. And that was domestic abuse.

 I think the best thing to do is to research your experts, but find some good clinically qualified sane experts because they do exist. And there are quite a few of them. Now we need more of. And try and avoid these sort of PA charlatans, who are financially motivated in this. 

There's been some guidance coming out of the Family Court recently. Andrew McFarlane has produced quite a bit of guidance as has The BPS, the British Psychological Society and the Family Justice Council have, and the ACP as well, The Association of Clinical Psychologists have all released, quite useful guides about experts and about the unregulated ones and what they can and can't do in the court. And when you put that guidance together, these unregulated experts just simply do not fit the bill. They just don't. Their credentials do not stand up to scrutiny, however, they're still getting hired. So that is more work for Survivor Family Network and #thecourtsaid to raise awareness about that and, and to sort of point mothers in the right direction in terms of what they need to do and what they need to understand about the expert witnesses associated with the Family Court.

SJ - Absolutely. And not just getting hired, but bizarrely courts taking note of their so-called expert advice. 

One of the things Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner has been really supportive of improving the practice in the Family Court and some of the the recommendations that were listed over two years ago now in the Harm Report to try and improve those.

One of the things she's talked about is having the domestic abuse specialist support workers, which do sometimes support and help women that are going through the criminal justice system, to have them available as support in the Family Court and be seen and able to take part alongside the woman and offer her support and assistance to get through that process.

Is that something that you would agree would be a helpful way forward? 

NP - I think it is, or would be, a helpful thing to do. I mean, there's a distinct sort of desert when it comes to support for mothers in Family Court after abuse, however, I would urge a little bit of caution as many people coming from say the criminal justice system and knowing how that works may not have had experience knowledge and or any understanding of how Family Court works.

And like I said, in the beginning, We've got there's three planets here and on planet Family Court, like I said, you can throw away everything you think you know about justice and the process and everything else. So I would urge a little bit of caution and say that they should be expertly trained and have a really good understanding of all the complications and nuances and barriers that are presented to mothers in Family Court.

SJ – Absolutely, we've talked a lot about how in general, we are not aware of what happens in Family Court. And of course, that, that goes for the professional supportive agencies in the same way that there's that lack of knowledge of how the system operates, is something that we need to address within the professionals as much as encouraging and building confidence in survivors to understand it.

NP – Completely agree.

SJ - So, what are you up to at the moment then, Natalie? What are you working on now? You mentioned the course and I'm sure getting that together is taking a lot of your time. Is that the focus or is there other stuff happening as well?

NP -  I'm always really, really busy. I'm always full of ideas and I've got a lot of stuff in the pipeline actually. 

So I'm going to be looking at developing our courses and resources, and we've been working on that over the summer. So some of those will be ready in the autumn. We are going to be beginning our face to face groups. So starting to grow sort of a more reliable, sort of physical support network for people that they can reach in their towns, you know, in their local area.

We're also doing a lot more case work and we're going to be exploring options for litigants in person who maybe don't get legal aid, but also can't afford a legal team. So we're going to be looking at developing some resources around that. We've got a couple of strands of work as a result of the observer investigation into unregulated experts, but also there's a problem, a similar problem with some experts who are actually regulated, but in the context of private law, they would do things that the unregulated experts do because there seems to be less governance around that.

So we are going to be looking at taking some further action on the regulated experts who are utilising PA theory. As well as the unregulated experts as well. So I have a survey out at the moment. This is for the unregulated experts and then in around about a week or so, another one will go live and that will be for the regulated ones. So we've got two sort of separate streams of work there.

 As always, we're contributing to research and academic work. We're also going to be putting together a plan about counteracting this ideology of PA, because it really needs dealing with. It is it is so difficult for victims of abuse to actually leave and move forward safely when there is this constant brick wall in front of them, and all that needs to happen is the perpetrator opens their mouth and says, PA. So we've got to do a lot of work counteracting and unpicking that ideology, because that ideology says that children shouldn't be believed. It's against every premise of children's rights and women's rights and proponents of a PA theory are often quite ultra conservative in their views and would like to return women to traditional values. 

And we've seen that in America and most recently with Roe V Wade that this is actually a real existential threat to women around the world. So I think we really need to go deep into why this theory has taken hold, how it's taken hold and what the people who are proponents of this theory stand for. What do they believe? Because I think we really need to show it for what it is. 

SJ - Absolutely. And it's so true what you say about the Family Court, how things get sort of thrown out the window because the whole premise of allegedly the Family Court being around organising a safe contact. That word safe, is often, as you say, not just mothers not being believed, but then once contact has been ordered and abuse has occurred during that contact and children have reported it. That in itself being sort of tarnished with that ‘Oh, well, the child's making it up because mum's told them to’

And so we have children reporting abuse that our courts are ignoring because of this crazy ideology that's been taken up, as you say, from a sort of very traditional family centred background.

NP -  Yeah. I mean, it is a real worry because not only are the children ignored, but quite often they're propelled and forced right into the arms of the person who is harming them. And that is quite a dark reality for a lot of children. 

And I think that there's a lot of work to do around undoing that. There's a lot of wrongs to put right. There's an awful lot to do on that. It goes against every single article of rights that children have, particularly when they're reporting abuse. And I don't think that any child should ever find themselves in that situation. 

SJ - I've heard solicitors suggest that although that although that happened at the weekend, don't bring it up in court, because it's not going to help your case if you are alleging even more abuse. And as you intimated, we're not just talking about going through this process and determining the amount of contact and where that contact is but sometimes children being placed with the abusive parent, even though there's a recorded history of domestic abuse and the criminal justice side has agreed that this man is a perpetrator, custody being given to the father rather than the mother who has over the time, been the safe, protective parent for those children.

Every time it happens, it just throws me because this is the antithesis of what the system is supposed to do. 

NP - Truly. It really is. It is the opposite of everything that should happen when a child says that they've been harmed. I find it unfathomable that this is being allowed to get this far, but now we've got this situation where alienation is a concept and it is that, it is just a concept. It's an idea, but it is taken a hold to such an extent that it's now being positioned as worse than any other type of abuse. So mothers then find themselves being completely punished. And so do the children, for reporting. 

And there's quite a lot of mums out there who will say that they've been punished for protecting. Many people might look at mums like that and think that they're conspiracy theorists, or they must have done something wrong.

But that's not true. It just isn't. It's because this ideology, and this theory has been allowed to spread like wildfire. I mean, it's colloquially sort of popular because it plays into a lot of misogynistic narratives around women, particularly single women, that already exist. Like she's just bitter, she can't let it go, all that kind of stuff.

Actually, the reality is that when you're forced into unsafe contact arrangements, you are forced into post separation abuse. And with parental alienation being used against you during that time actually makes you powerless in a way to be able to deal with the behaviour that saw you in court in the first place. So it becomes this sort of long cycle. 

And I think this is why we're seeing some very, very long cases. They shouldn't necessarily take that long. We're seeing long cases and we are seeing children who are forced against their wishes to live with perpetrators. So they're being forced into the arms of the parent who they have reported as harming them and in my view, that's just got to stop. 

SJ - Absolutely. It's worth fighting for to end that practice. 

There should never be another child that goes through that, but also we have to think about what's going to happen in a few years’ time. How are children making sense of that as they grow up and not just the trauma they've experienced before the relationship separated, but then that being punished for asking for help. When something else happens in their childhood, are they likely to reach out and ask for help again? possibly not, with that experience and that not having that safe place. 

My experience of working with children that have been subjected to domestic abuse is if they've got one safe parent and a good relationship with that safe parent, then their chances of healing from that are far greater than being left with nothing solid to hold on to.

NP - Yeah, exactly. And it is like you say, like being left with no solid grounds in a way at all. And when every service or agency that should have protected these children and assisted them has then turned and said, no, it's because your mother put you up to this. The distrust that they have, quite understandably, of these services is a high level of distrust.

And you can't really blame them for that because, would you trust them after that?  like asking a mother who's been in Family Court, does she trust the judicial system in the government? She'd probably tell you absolutely not. And these children are exactly the same.

So of course then if something does go wrong and they do need to reach out for some genuine help from services or agencies, they don't. And that I think is a ticking time bomb, notwithstanding the mental health aspects of it as well because their mental health would've been weaponised against them too.

Usually in the course of a PA allegation it's positioned in a clinical way. So that also create this sort of ticking time bomb, if you like, of thousands of children who are really suffering with mental health and they wouldn't be able to reach out confidently to any service for fear of being punished again. And I think that that is something that society really needs to wake up to. 

SJ - Absolutely.

NP -  I hope these children group together and I hope they see everybody who let them down.

SJ - I think a ticking time bomb and it's an ideology which is harming children and the consequences of that will just grow unless we can put a stop to it really, really soon. And I think your work is playing a huge part of that. I really look forward to the courses starting.

In some ways I'm even frightened to ask what's next, because you've got so much going on at the moment, but are there sort of thoughts about ‘this is where I'd like to go next? This is what I want to attack next?

NP -  I think what I'd like to do, like on the grand scheme of things, I would really like to work around access to justice. So not just making sure that the justice system is actually working in a just manner for all people, but actually improving, in particular, women's access to justice, women and children.

So that if these things do happen in future, that their ability to fix that would be increased. So I look at that access to justice in the future as almost like an insurance policy against this sort of thing happening again. I mean, at the end of the day, Parental Alienation is disinformation. 

I think it's etched in societal memory about how susceptible the judiciary were to disinformation like for example, with the witch trials, after that, the justice system took a lot of steps to improve and they need to approach it in a similar way because they are just as susceptible now to disinformation as they were in the 16th century. So improving access to justice and sort of making the justice system meet the needs of the people is I think a very important thing to do. So in terms of leaving a legacy, that's what I would like to do. 

SJ - I think you're the woman for the job, Natalie. It it's been an absolute pleasure chatting to you. The passion and commitment that you bring to this. And the integrity that you bring to this is always wonderful to hear about the work that you're doing and inspiring to hear about the work that you are doing.

We'll make sure that links to the survey and the Survivor's Network website on the link with the podcast. 

So if anyone wants to get in contact or find some more information they can, but for now, thank you so much for the work that you're doing. 

NP - Thank you very much. And looking to working with FiLiA.