One in Ten

Gender Bias and the Myth of Parental Alienation

January 05, 2020 National Children's Alliance / Professor Joan Meier Season 2 Episode 1
One in Ten
Gender Bias and the Myth of Parental Alienation
Show Notes

Episode 201, “Gender Bias and the Myth of Parental Alienation.” Everyone’s heard of the vengeful ex-wife who accuses her ex-husband of child abuse just to get back at him during a divorce. There’s even a scientific-sounding term for it: parental alienation. But is parental alienation real? And are judges taking allegations of abuse seriously enough? We spoke to Professor Joan Meier from George Washington University Law School who has some, frankly, startling data on the subject. How does alleging abuse affect custody decisions? Is there scientific proof that alienation exists? And what can we do to persuade the courts to do a better job of investigating abuse?

Topics in this episode:

·         Realizing children aren’t being protected.

·         Junk science: parental alienation syndrome.

·         The myth of the vengeful ex-wife.

·         Women are not considered as credible as men.

·         What the research really show?

·         What should the courts be doing?

·         Reaction by judges

·         What can we do about it?


Joan S. Meier, professor of clinical law at George Washington University Law School

The study referred to in this episode, “Child Custody Outcomes in Cases Involving Parental Alienation and Abuse Allegations,” and other research by Professor Meier are available on the law school’s website

‘A gendered trap’: When mothers allege child abuse by fathers, the others often lose custody, study shows,” is a Washington Post article about the study.

Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP) provides pro bono appellate representation in compelling domestic violence cases and trains attorneys and courts around the country

DV LEAP’s Legal Resource Library include briefs and court opinions, training materials, publications, links to domestic violence organizations, case digests, and custody resources


Learn more about the work of Children’s Advocacy Centers and National Children’s Alliance on our website, read our annual report, and visit us on Facebook.

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