The project responds to the problem of limiting a child’s rights to contact with both parents after their separation. It is estimated that currently 2 out of 5 children are involved in the separation of their parents. A peculiarity of Polish divorces is the high conflict rate, which is associated with frequent parental alienation and the involvement of the child in the conflict. Available legal solutions are abused, there is a lack of knowledge of the psychological mechanisms occurring in such families and the needs of the child. There is no coherent system of assistance to families in separation crisis in Poland, and the existing solutions are fragmentary and do not take into account the ongoing social changes . The current socio-political situation and proposals to amend the Family Code only deepen the phenomenon of marginalisation and discrimination of families after separation.
The project has developed an interactive educational platform for parents in separation and professionals working with families. The platform contains almost 180 different materials – articles, webinars, videos, podcasts and more. A research study on child well-being was conducted and a conference ‘Together Facing Separation’ was organised. Pedagogical and psychological staff participated in eight training sessions. Three trainings were also organised for court experts and those working with families in separation, a guide for courts and materials for lawyers – a collection of good practices and court-legal strategies protecting a child in civil proceedings for custody – were prepared. A certification system of ‘Child- Friendly Law Firms’ was also created, and as a part of the project itself,40 child-friendly law firms obtained the certificate during legal procedures related to the separation of parents. A public awareness campaign on how to take care of oneself and children in a separation situation was also part of the project.
The project has improved the situation of families in separation crisis – especially the wellbeing of the children themselves. Parents have improved their competences in coping with difficult emotions related to separation and have been sensitised to the perspective of the child and the partner. Those working with families deepened their knowledge of the mechanism of alienation and relationship disruption in separation situations and were given tools to work with children and their parents. The project also served as a platform for a broader public discussion on how to better protect children’s rights in the event of parental separation. The report and its recommendations will be used for advocacy and legal changes.