The Commissioner for the Protection of Children’s Rights, Despo Michaelidou, said there was a lack of specialised services that to prevent ‘parental alienation’ which often resulted from divorce.

Michaelidou was one of the guests at the House human rights committee which on Monday discussed the problems faced by child victims of parental alienation and the state procedures for protecting them.

Those who paid the price of the hostility of acrimony between parents, who were getting divorced, were the children that, as adults would bear the scars, said Michaelidou. Her office had developed positions on the matter, adding that the procedure for defining the interests of children should be drafted as well as the methods that should be followed.

There was a need to set up inter-professional cooperation and coordination among the services of social welfare and mental health and the police. She proposed bringing these services under one roof to ensure against ineffectiveness.

President of the committee, Akel deputy Irini Charalambides, said the alienation of a child after a divorce, could cause hatred against a parent, something that needed to be prevented by the state. She also spoke of the need for services to have access to case files, but censured the understaffing of the social welfare department that had a large volume of cases.

She explained that in 2021, social welfare department officers had 421 cases to deal with while also having another 477 cases from previous years. “It is not possible for seven officials at social welfare services to handle about 900 cases,” she said.

Disy deputy Fotini Tsiridou, said the whole matter was being looked at as part of the big reform of family law at the House legal affairs committee.