Legal Action for Women and Global Women’s Strike have expressed outrage over the way in which Woman’s Hour handled a parental alienation debate on its show last week.

Selma James, who helped launch the Global Women’s Strike (GWS) and who coined the word “unwaged” to describe the caring work women do, has written a letter to the BBC radio show condemning the programme for ignoring underlying concerns with parental alienation as a concept and a tool to place vulnerable parents and children in danger.

Legal Action for Women, who are calling on listeners upset by the programme to send in a complaint to the BBC, published a press release with more details about the concerns raised by themselves and GWS:

“We are outraged that on Friday 26 April, Woman’s Hour (about 30 minutes in) featured a discussion about “parental alienation” with a woman psychotherapist and a woman barrister, following a march on Downing Street the day before by Families Need Fathers to mark “Parental alienation day” – a relatively new invention used to undermine mothers charges of violence by former partners, which is very common.

As the complaint by Selma James (Global Women’s Strike) makes clear, the Woman’s Hour discussion made absolutely no reference to how often mothers who are victims of rape and/or domestic violence, including coercive and controlling behaviour, and are trying to protect their children, are dismissed by the family courts, sometimes with deadly consequences for themselves and their children.

The programme accepted at face value the claim of “parental alienation”, when it is in fact a controversial invention whose “discoverer” has been discredited – see here. None of the women guests or the presenter even mentioned the misogyny and worse of FNF – see here.

They backed Families Need Fathers’ claim that “parental alienation” causes “emotional harm” and welcomed judges increasingly using it to remove children from their mothers and send them to live with their father.

These are the kind of professionals we are up against in court and a major reason so many mothers lose their children.

Woman’s Hour is asking to hear from anyone affected by these issues. It would be good if as many people as possible contact them to complain and let them know about your experience, particularly mothers who have suffered violence and whose children have been taken on the grounds of “parental alienation”. Such sexism must not go unchallenged, especially by a programme which is supposed to speak for women.

Please email your complaint to: and send a copy to us.

We will also raise that FnF had one event and got discussed on Woman’s Hour while mothers at Support Not Separation [LAFW’s campaign group) have been picketing the family court monthly for two years and they have shown no interest in speaking to us.”

You can listen to the show here.

Further reading: