As we seem to hurtle towards the end of 2019 it is time to do a round up of the last 12 months.
The beginning of the year started with us doing an interview on Radio 5 live with Dame Esther Rantzen, I did interviews with Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 Broadcasting House and an article for The Sunday Express.
We were contacted by a grandparent support group in Norway who are working towards a change in the law in their country.
Our focus for the year has been on the fact that estrangement/alienation is Emotional Abuse, and contacting all organisations who purport to be there for the protection of children to publicly acknowledge that this is emotional abuse and a child protection issue. As yet, NONE have agreed to do so.
A group of grandparents joined together for several lunches, a time to come together and to give ourselves permission to have some fun.
BGSG was given a wonderful donation from Resolution, they have been great in supporting us in this way over the last few years. We rely on donations from individuals and organisations to allow us to continue to support grandparents in the way we do.
In March/ April interviews continued, again on Radio 4,Radio 2 with Jeremy Vine, Radio WM, the response from those interviews was huge with increase of calls to helpline, emails, and hundreds of visits to the website.
I had a meeting with ITV WestCountry about a future feature.
Correspondence continued with various Ministers of Justice, MP’s, questions being asked by Nigel Huddleston MP during PMQ’s on several occasions, responses were always positive, all said the government acknowledge the importance of the relationships between grandchildren and and grandparents, and that an announcement would be soon be made.
We are still waiting!
There was a March in London against Parental Alienations which some grandparents took part in.
From May to June I had a variety of meetings with TV companies who were researching programmes for the future, I spend hours in discussion with the media over the prospect of forthcoming programmes, most never actually get to be aired.
One of the most important announcements of the year was the World Health Organisation included Parental Alienation in their new edition of International Classification of Diseases:
Parental alienation is not a separate diagnosis in ICD-11, but is considered a synonym or an index term for a specific diagnosis, that is, caregiver-child relationship problem (QE52.0). The final version of ICD-11 is freely available on the Internet at https://icd.who.int/.
Go to that link and then to “ICD Browser.” You can easily search for “parental alienation” and “parental
estrangement.” Both terms are recognised because they are in the Index of the three-volume set of ICD-11. Both terms take the reader to the diagnosis of caregiver-child relationship problem. That is what ICD personnel have been telling us for more than a year, that is, that alienation and estrangement
are considered “index terms” for caregiver-child relationship problem. We knew all along that parental alienation would not be a separate diagnosis, but was considered an alternative term for caregiver-child relationship problem. If you ask me, I think it is correct to say, “Parental alienation is in ICD-11.” Also,
“PA is considered another name for caregiver-child relationship problem.” Also, “ICD-11 recognises the
reality of PA,” and so on.
July/August again interviews this time in The Telegraph, Gransnet included all the support groups on their website.
I continued in writing to child protection organisations, with no response.
As part of our fund raising, every year we bring on plants to sell, Marc and I can be seen in the deep mid Winter potting on in the garage! Our community are so used to us doing plants they wait for them to appear in the front garden, it is wonderful to think that local gardens have plants from us, each one standing proud and coming into bloom in aid of our grandchildren.
More changes within the Ministry of Justice, so more letters.
I was asked to go and give a talk at our local contact centres annual general meeting, we had an interesting discussion afterwards.
I made contact with Judge Stephen Wildblood, a Family Division Judge in Bristol, we discussed how we can work together in the future.
An article was published in Closer magazine.
A meeting had been held in Westminster in September organised by a group leader from London, for representatives of AGA, an organisation in America who fights for Grandparents Visitation Rights, it was a meeting we were not involved in. At that meeting there were calls for a National Organisation and for a National Conference, for 500 delegates.
I emailed 400 grandparents and asked them where they might like a conference, overwhelmingly the result was Birmingham, after a conference call with Dame Esther and Vanessa Lloyd-Platt (whose law firm had agreed to fund a conference) they decided that London would be the venue. Unfortunately after that call due to ill health Vanessa has had to pull out, so at the time of writing this, not sure what will happen.
Others disagree with me, but for me a conference needs careful planning, which should take time, there needs to be an aim and objective. Funding has to be sourced and for me grandparents need to leave such an event feeling that something is moving forward, that the aims and objectives have been met. I asked 21 grandparents who were at our support group meeting on Friday, if they would be prepared to travel to London for what, might now be, a couple of hours for an event, the response was no-one said they would.
Of course a General Election was called, we now have a result. So we will now begin the process again of contacting the necessary ministers.
I started doing live videos on the FB group pages.
We did a fundraising weekend at LUSH, which was wonderful, the staff got right behind what we do and all wore green sashes with BGSG logo on. Thank you to all of them.
So we now reach the last couple of months of 2019.
We sadly had to say goodbye to one of the original grandparents who came to my first meeting, the amazing Margaret Partington, she will always be remembered and loved for her care and empathy. We will all miss her presence, she will always be in our hearts. She once said that she would be prepared to dance naked at the Houses of Parliament to get the rights of grandchildren heard!
Another interview in the Express and letter and photo in the Daily Mail.
A study commissioned by a firm of solicitors in London states 1 in 7 grandparents denied contact. My reckoning is that means there are approx 14 million GP in UK, so 2 million denied contact, and estimate that 4 million children now denied contact. I assume that the study was completed using GP going down the legal route, which means that the number could be much higher, as MOST GP don’t go down the legal route.
We are honoured to welcome Erin Pizzey to join Dame Esther as Patron, we look forward to working with Erin.
The ‘Tree of Hope’ is once again in the front garden and festooned with magical messages of love to grandchildren.
Over the last 12 months several grandparents have been reunited with their grandchildren, so you must never give up Hope.
Lastly, an enormous thank you to our Trustees for their help and support, to Dame Esther and Erin for believing in what we do, to those who have helped us with funds. but most of all to the thousands of grandparents that contact us everyday, we will keep doing what we do, keep giving support to those when needed and above all we will keep raising awareness of the child protection issue of the emotional harm on our grandchildren.