BBC World Service – Is Virtual Parenting Time a Substitute for Physical Contact


If you didn’t catch my interview on the BBC World Service this week on Skype contact, you can hear it on our Youtube Channel (or via the video below). The father interviewed, ‘Peter’, explains the problems extremely well. Was moving the child 400 miles away from this man in the child’s best interests? Hearing him, I struggle to see how it was.

If the end of the interview sounds a little odd, a section was edited out due to time constraints. One interesting part (and thanks to Thomas Bodimer our US researcher) was that the first use of Skype in family proceedings was in Utah in 2004. The 2015 UK case I refer to where the courts accepted Skype contact was unsuitable for the child concerned is Re R (A Child: Relocation) [2015] EWHC 456 (Fam).

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again…”You can’t hug Skype” (not my words, but the words of the social worker in the above case).

Cases which support the edited section of the broadcast, on courts starting to consider alienation as a form of child abuse include H (Children) [2014] EWCA Civ 733, W (A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 772, K (Children) [2014] EWCA Civ 1195, and we’ve knowledge of other cases which are not in the public domain.

If you’re affected by issues in the interview, the following guides are relevant:

Leave to Remove

Internal Relocation

Child Arrangements and Contact Enforcement

Parental Alienation

My thanks to Dan Damon of the BBC World Service for running this piece, Ross Jones, Director of Communications at Families Need Fathers for his involvement, and to Peter, for sharing his experiences which sadly, are too common.