Training for professionals under the title "Manipulation of Children in Parental Divorce" was held in the Social Welfare Centre of Split on 23 and 24 January 2017. Training included topics like high conflict divorce, methods of manipulating the child, parental alienation and psychological mechanisms underlining such behaviours, focusing attention on children's needs and on what professionals could do to protect children's best interests. The training was conducted by Prof. Sc.D. Gordana Buljan Flander and Mia Roje, psychologist. Prof. Sc.D. Buljan Flander also conducted a supervision session of the cases in this Centre.
In Prague, on 11 July 2017, a meeting was organized which brought together practitioners from across Europe who are dealing with the manipulation of children by parents in divorce proceedings. The purpose of the meeting was to establish European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners (EAPAP, https://www.eapap.eu/) that will deal with this issue at a systematic international and multidisciplinary level.
Karen and Nick Woodall from Separation Clinic London, organizers of the meeting, recognized Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb as an example of good practice and invited Center’s Director Prof. dr. sc. Gordana Buljan Flander to hold a presentation on Center’s practice as well as challenges we face every day.
Center’s psychologists Ana Marija Španić, Mia Roje and Tea Brezinščak also participated in this meeting. Karen Woodall emphasized that she considers this meeting a historic moment because it resulted in the establishment of the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners – the first of its kind.
Participants discussed various aspects of working with children and families affected by manipulation:
- legal frameworks of each country,
- creation of a common network and projects to improve care for this particularly vulnerable group of children,
- raising public awareness of the problem of manipulation.