Take the PAS evaluation form
and the HAP evaluation
form to determine which intervention strategy would be best in your case.
Below are the general recommended intervention strategies to be used with this protocol depending
on the evaluated level of risk to the child. Readers should also review the more detailed
intervention strategies with specific examples which are outlined in the next section of this
document to know how to best apply the protocol to any particular situation.
Low risk of harm to child (0 to 49 points)
For low risk situations, the family should be encouraged to deal with the issues using their own
resources. Generally, it should not be necessary to employ most of the strategies that are necessary
when the child is at moderate or high risk of harm. The involvement of a trained family coordinator
or a family support group can be most helpful to parents who are in the “low risk of harm” category.
Moderate risk of harm to child (50 to 249 points)
For moderate risk situations, a full review of the parenting arrangements for the child must be
undertaken and an effective and prompt intervention strategy put in place to stop the HAP
behaviours from causing any further harm. When matters are before the court, it is important that
the court take immediate and effective action. Further delays in implementing effecting strategies
to minimize any further HAP will likely only make matters worse for the child and may result in the
risk to the child being elevated to the high or extreme category. Generally, parents whose HAP
behaviours and decisions have placed their child in a moderate risk of harm category, can, with
appropriate intervention, be guided back on to a more appropriate course of parenting. Where a
child is determined to be at a moderate risk of harm because of a HAP parent, it is recommended
High risk of harm to child (250 to 499 points)
- The HAP parent should not be permitted to have sole custody of the child. Ideally, a second
parent or guardian must also be allowed to share custodial authority in the form of joint
custody over the child in order to balance the power of the HAP parent and to provide a legal
protection for the child in the event that the child is further abused by an HAP parent. In most
cases, custody should be shared with the other parent but where both parents would be
considered as exposing the child to risk of harm, then another third party should be given
custody of the child on a temporary basis.
- A family coordinator, parent referee or other trained person(s) should be assigned to monitor
the family given the specific task of monitoring the parents’ compliance to any court Order or
agreement and parenting plan.
- A comprehensive parenting plan should be in place which will clearly deal with the issues of
HAP and establish parenting times that the child will be with each parent and clearly lay out
parental responsibilities and duties of each parent.
- A monitoring period of at least one year should be put in place until it can be clearly seen that
the situation has improved to a point where a child would be in low risk category.
- Specific penalties should be in place as part of any court Order or agreement to deal with any
violations of the Order or agreement by any of the parents or their family members. Penalties
should include removal of all custody rights and provide clear guidelines as to when this
penalty will be applied. The person(s) monitoring the agreement should be given the
authority to oversee imposition of penalties without the parents having to go back to court to
have the penalties imposed.
- The current parenting time arrangements of the child be reviewed and the parenting times
modified so that the child will spend less time with the HAP parent on a temporary basis
should the required criteria for altering the residency of the child be met.
For high risk of harm situations, a full review of the current parenting arrangements for the child
must be made and effective and prompt intervention strategies put in place to prevent more serious
harm and potentially long term psychological damage being done to the child. A parent whose
actions have caused their child to be put at high risk of harm is more likely going to be difficult to
deal with and will likely respond only to effective intervention of the court coupled with monitoring
of the situation by third parties. Under such conditions the following intervention is recommended:
Extreme risk of harm to child (500 or more points)
- That if the high risk parent has sole custody of the child, then the sole custody status of the
parent should be removed from the high risk HAP parent and the child be placed in the
temporary primary care of the other parent or another family member who would not be
evaluated as placing the child at high risk of harm.
- That an adjustment to the child’s time should be made so that the child spends less time in the
care of the high risk parent. If the high risk parent currently has more than 50% of the
parenting time with the child then the parenting time will be balanced with each parent getting
approximately 50% of the time with the child if this can be reasonably accommodated. If the
high risk parent already has only 50% of the time with the child, then the child’s time with the
high risk parent will be reduced further to less than 50% with the other parent becoming the
legal primary care giver to the child.
- That a trained family support person (family coordinator, parent referee or other trained
person) should be assigned to assist the family and given the specific task of monitoring the
parents’ compliance to any court Order or agreement. The information gathered by the family
support person(s) should be shared with any other professional working with the family.
- That a comprehensive parenting plan should be in place either by consent or by court Order
which will clearly establish parenting times that the child will be with each parent and well as
clearly lay out the responsibilities and duties of each parent.
- That specific penalties should be in place to deal with any violations of the parenting
agreement by any of the parents or their family members, including removal or reversal of
custody. The person(s) monitoring the agreement should be given the authority to oversee
imposition of penalties without the parents having to go back to court.
- That a monitoring period of at least one year should be imposed until it can be clearly seen
that the situation has improved to a point where a child would be in low risk category.
- That joint custodial authority be returned to the HAP parent once he/she has been able to
demonstrate with reasonable consistency the ability to comply with the court Order and to
provide an environment for the child that would be free of HAP behaviours.
For extreme risk of harm situations, effective intervention strategies should be employed as quickly
as possible to stop the influences of the HAP parent from causing any further harm to the child and
hopefully to begin the process or reversing any potential psychological damage already done to the
child. Where it has been determined that a child is in the extreme risk of harm category and there is
at least one critical risk factor present, removal of custodial and/or access rights to the child must
usually be taken away from the HAP parent as quickly as possible in order to bring relief to the
situation and to ensure that the child’s exposure to HAP influences is significantly and immediately
reduced. The complete removal of the HAP parent’s custody rights on a temporary basis sends in
this situation a strong message that the actions of the HAP will not be tolerated by society. Under
conditions of extreme risk of harm to the child, and where one critical risk indicator is present, the
following intervention is recommended:
- That the HAP parent’s current custody status (sole or joint) be temporarily suspended until
such time as it can be determined using the “risk assessment protocol” that the parent no
longer poses an extreme risk of harm to the child stemming from HAP and its associated risk
- That the HAP parent’s access rights with the child be reviewed and access suspended
temporarily should the required criteria for suspending access to the child be met. Supervised
access should be considered for parents who are considered as posing an extreme risk of harm
to their child.
- That the currently residency arrangements of the child be reviewed and the primary residence
of the child be changed on a temporary basis should the required criteria for altering the
residency of the child be met.
- That, as the first option, the child should be placed under the care and control of the other
parent or another family member where an assessment has determined the child not to be at
extreme risk of harm caused by an HAP party.
- That a psychological assessment or parenting assessment or evaluation on the HAP parent
should be conducted by a competent professional in an attempt to find the root causes of the
- That a plan of care for the child be developed that can reasonably show how the risk of harm
from HAP will be reduced prior to any consideration is made to re-establish any parenting or
In most cases involving children at high risk, intervention will not be pleasant to implement and in
many cases, may meet severe opposition from the child, especially when it comes to curtailing the
child’s time with the HAP parent. Although there may be what can be referred to as “short term
pain” in reversing the damage done to a child because of HAP, inevitably, the child will benefit
from the “long term gain” of appropriate intervention. There are a number of cases on record where
children who have been kidnapped from another parent for sometime long periods of time have
been successfully re-integrated back with a parent they have not seen for a long period of time. In
these cases the courts ordered the kidnapping parents to be jailed and the children physically placed
with the parent who the child had not seen for a long period of time, sometimes years. The damage
to children caused by HAP or PAS can be reversed if strong measures are taken.