On 15 February 2020, the WHO declared that it had removed this pseudo-scientific concept from its index and classification.
The Italian members of the Facebook group PAS: informazioni e disinformazione were the first to spread the information. They spotted a comment from a WHO team, Team3 WHO, on the page of the Classification devoted to Psychological maltreatment, in response to a remark reminding that parental alienation has no scientific basis.
Team3 WHO declares:
Parental alienation has been removed from the ICD-11 classification as it is a judicial term and issue. Its inclusion for coding purposes in the ICD-11 will not contribute to valid or meaningful health statistics.
Indeed, when we search, after logging on the site, for the parental expression alienation in the Classification, or when we consult the Caregiver-child relationship problem entry, the expression no longer appears.
This information is an opportunity to review recent events.
In November 2019, William Bernet, President of the Parental Alienation Study Group, one of the most motivated promoters of parental alienation, reported in a newsletter, translated and distributed in France by ACALPA, on the positioning of the WHO’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MSAC). This Advisory Committee reminded us of what we already knew: the presence of a notion in the index of the Classification does not imply official recognition by the WHO. A definition of parental alienation, in the index entry only, has appeared in the meantime, which could have led to a future recognition of this pseudo-theory by the WHO.
On 29 October 2019, the discussions seemed to be closed and the lack of a clear position from WHO was causing confusion. Indeed, the mere presence of this notion, wherever it is in the Classification, would favour its instrumentalization by its promoters and its use by violent men in family courts, as recalled in the Collective Memo of Concern to: World Health Organization about « Parental Alienation ».
We invite any person, activist, journalist, researcher to disseminate this information and to ask those who persist in claiming that WHO has recognized parental alienation to publish a correction. We also urge legislators to be careful not to insert into the law concepts that have no scientific basis.
Le Réseau International des Mères en Lutte
International Network of Activist Mothers