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At NAAP it is our aim for our members to be as well trained, if not better trained, than the ‘professionals’ we are often told we can trust and rely upon. We think that our members are entitled to know just how inadequate and deficient the training is that schools recieve on PA and emotional harm. Remember that schools are in the front-line of child protection. Furthermore, they are regularly asked by social workers, including CAFCASS to provide comments and observations for inclusion in their reports. These reports are afforded a great deal of weight and the ‘expertise’ of teachers is respected and highly valued by our family courts. The input of schools and teachers to court determinations is often key to their outcomes and rulings. School input can tip the balance or heavily influence courts when they make life altering decisions about our children.

Therefore we are entitled to expect the training they receive to be beyond reproach, comprehensive and of the highest order…RIGHT??


Below is a specimen of the training actually given in one of the English counties. The information was provided to us by someone that was attempting to tell us ‘how well trained’ our teaching professions are when it comes to recognising signs of parental alienation and emotional harm. PA is not even mentioned. Emotional harm gets a few superfi. Unless other authorities are doing MUCH better there will never be a better illustration to show how poorly equipped our schools are to spot signs of PA and emotional abuse in order to provide even a barely acceptable level of safeguarding for our children. PA demands better treatment and more detailed coverage because of its counter intuitive nature.

Here is the first extract:

Emotional Abuse

  • Is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.
  • It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
  • It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.
  • It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on the child. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child from participating in normal social interaction.
  • It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.
  • It may involve serious bullying (including cyber-bullying), causing children to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.
  • Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015


Here is the second extract:

Signs and indicators

Emotional Abuse

  • Failure to thrive
  • Attention seeking
  • Over ready to relate to others
  • Low self esteem
  • Apathy
  • Depression/self harm
  • Drink/drug/solvent abuse
  • Persistently being over protective
  • Constantly shouting at, threatening or demeaning a child
  • Withholding love and affection
  • Regularly humiliating a child    


So there you go. That is the sum total coverage of emotional harm in the training. Once you have finished reading this short list of bullet points, reward yourself with a Mars bar. In at least one UK county you will have the same amount of expertise in emotional abuse as most teachers. Learn a little about PA and you will have a far superior knowledge. Enjoy your studies: they’ll be over in the blink of an eye!

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