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Press Release by the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights and the Ministry for Justice and Governance: More awareness about parental alienation

12.11.2021 | Press Releases

Reference Number: PR212035

The Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights, together with the Ministry for Justice and Governance, published a study which provides a clearer picture of the overall extent of awareness amongst Maltese society as regarding cases of parental alienation. In certain cases, the children end up carrying an unexpected burden, and end up bouncing back-and-forth between the two parents.

Minister Michael Falzon stated that this study was commissioned by the Technical Committee, which was set up for the specific purpose of creating further knowledge, as well as a scientific picture, about this specific subject. This is a reality which, in spite of not affecting many families, still could leave some form of negative impact upon the families themselves. The worst affected are the children, upon whom pressure is being exerted, so as to prevent contact being made, or any form of alienation, with the other parent.

“This government is already preparing for legal changes, so as to be able to safeguard everybody’s interests, in this case being those relating to the parents, together with the best interests of the children themselves. We must not adopt an approach where we refrain from taking action, as well as avoid discussing subjects which are affecting people’s lives”, claimed Minister Falzon.

Minister Edward Zammit Lewis thanked the Technical Committee, as concerning parental alienation and the work that they are carrying out in this sector, specifically in relation to parental alienation and parental estrangement. These are concepts which create pressure on the parent who is kept apart from his or her children, as well as vice versa. Minister Zammit Lewis stressed upon the importance of the presence of both parents throughout the lives of their children, and it is precisely for this reason that these two realities are being addressed in turn.

Minister Zammit Lewis stressed that he will remain committed towards helping those families who are undergoing parental alienation or parental estrangement, where in order to maintain children’s interests as the principal point of focus, he continued to stress upon the importance of regular training being provided to professionals, including members of the judiciary and those inside the legal profession, so that even they could understand the consequences of these social scourges which grip certain Maltese and Gozitan families, and thus act with due consideration in relation to their clients.

The Chairperson of the Technical Committee, Andy Ellul, observed a number of trends which provide further definition, together with a clear picture, of what constitutes parental alienation.

  • From this study, it emerges that 80% have never heard of this term, and that only 3.4% are truly aware of what this means, whereas 12% have stated that these include situations where the parents do not take proper care of their children. 
  • Comparatively, women are much more aware than men as regarding the subject itself. Overall, the elderly are those who are the most aware as concerning the subjects themselves. 
  • Non-married persons are more aware than married persons about the subject respectively. 
  • Those with a high level of education (70%), as well as those with a high wage rate (82%), are the most aware of the subject. 
  • 25% of those who replied to this study know someone who is going through a similar situation. 8% of those who answered this study declared that a member of their own family was undergoing parental alienation. 
  • 97% stated that they were never deprived from being able to see their own children. 
  • It is very much possible that there may be instances of parental alienation, even in cases where the couples themselves may be married. 

In the meantime, this study will be spread out across the coming weeks, and will delve deeper so as to be able to gain a better understanding of what can be done to eliminate this sense of hatred. The ultimate objective is that the children’s interests come first and foremost above all.