The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM), Equality Now and the Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law (GCEFL) held the Regional Strategic Meeting on the False Parental Alienation Syndrome (SAP) in Family Law in Latin America from September 25th to 27th in Rio de Janeiro, bringing together women from various Latin American countries. 

CLADEM and its partner organizations have been following with concern the increasing use of the false notion of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, used as a strategy to deprive mothers of their custody rights in the context of family litigation, especially in cases where the mother accuses the father of violence (physical, emotional, psychological, sexual abuse) against her and/or her children. For CLADEM, these supposedly neutral laws and the use of the notion of SAP in the judicial field expose women and girls to more violence and greater risks, especially sexual and psychological violence, as well as institutional violence and re-victimization. The Meeting aimed to deepen the understanding of how laws based on this false syndrome operate in five Latin American countries, such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Uruguay; to understand the uses of this discourse in the courts and the impacts on mothers and children; to discuss and map the barriers and challenges to reforming laws and practices on false syndrome; to tackle the law proposals advancing in our region; to design action strategies to deal with false SAP, including collaboration with stakeholders and the ways in which organizations can drive change. Leila Linhares Barsted participated in this meeting and collaborated as Rapporteur of the debates held on September 25th.