Serpent Child – childhood experiences of parental alienation

Patricia Riley’s new book tells the story of her experience of parental separation and subsequent parental alienation.

In his introduction to the book |(above) Anthony Douglas the former Chief Executive Officer of CAFCASS stresses the importance of personal accounts like this to the understanding of what can happen to children after separation.  He considers it to be a very significant contribution to our knowledge of survivor experience and one that should have an international reach.  He also talks about how CAFCASS came to recognise this as a form of abuse and how important children’s accounts are in recognising what is happening.

The film continues with the author reading an extract from her book. After an early childhood ravaged by family conflict, at age seven Pat was made a Ward of Court. Far from improving her lot, however, the judgement condemned her to the life of a nomad, for the next ten years being shuttled every few weeks between boarding-schools and the homes of her warring parents. Her mother continued to demand her total loyalty; her father retaliated by getting Pat’s school to punish her for not siding with him.  Further details at Stairwell Books.