Charlie Magill and Donna Maria Logue of La Dolce Vita Project.
'Charlie Magill is some man for one man,' as Donna Marie Logue, the founder and director of La Dolce Vita Project would testify.
Charlie has just completed his parental alienation marathon walk, which consisted of a marathon a day for 14 days or 346 miles in total, in aid of the Derry charity with international reach.
La Dolce Vita Project is a therapeutic counselling, support charity supporting those impacted by domestic abuse, sexual abuse and parental alienation.
On Saturday, July 23 last, Charlie set off from Tragumna Bay in Skibbereen on the coast of County Cork and finished in Glenarm on the coast of County Antrim on Friday, August 5.
So far, he has raised more than £13,000 via his GoFundMe page for La Dolce Vita Project and Turning Point NI, charities committed to supporting people experiencing parental alienation and those battling poor mental health. Charlie’s page is still accepting donations as he pushes towards his goal of £14,000.
Charlie said: “I took on this challenge to highlight parental alienation. This is the loss of contact between one parent and their children following parental separation with one parent intentionally interfering and denying access to the other parent.
“Having watched someone go through the experience of losing contact with their children, I decided to bring the sensitive topic of parental alienation across the island of Ireland.
Speaking to Derry Now, Donna Marie Logue said Charlie had given a' voice to the voiceless' through his parental alienation mara- thon walk.
She said: “Charlie is an incredible man. He and his family, Patricia, Colette and Anne Marie made contact with La Dolce Vita and said they would like to do a fundraising event for us. Charlie was also supported fantastically by all the local GAA clubs in the towns and villages he passed through. They provided facilities for him and his family.
“I went up to Glenarm and met him about five miles out from the finish line on Friday. We were joined by Danny Collins, the Mayor of Cork, who had waved him off on day one. Our own Mayor, Sandra Duffy sent Charlie a message of support, as did the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
“Charlie had quite phenomenal support including Doug Beattie (UUP leader) and Philip McGuigan (Sinn Féin MLA). Really, he wanted to raise awareness around the topic of parental alienation and its mental health impact.
“We can’t thank Charlie enough because he has really made it okay to talk about the issue.
“The fact he chose La Dolce Vita Project, the only gender inclusive charity in Ireland that recognises this issue, actually gave us a voice and people are starting to recognise the harm that parental alienation is causing. We have seen an increase in referrals since Charlie started his walk, locally and from the States, England and the Republic of Ireland. We have a lot to be thankful for to Charlie and his family,” said Donna Maria.
La Dolce Vita project was set up back in 2016 to support people going through domestic abuse, sexual abuse and parental alienation.
Donna Maria said: “As a result of supporting people prior to and after court proceedings we came to an understanding of parental alienation. There were some separated parents who were having difficulties communicating with or having any form of contact with the other parent in relation to their children.
“In that case, their only option may have been to go to a solicitor and seek access through the courts because they have exhausted all other avenues.
“In Dolce Vita, we saw the impact this was having on parents and we decided to go into the field of parental alienation as well. As a result, we have seen our referrals increase steadily.
“We are the only non gender domestic abuse and parental alienation charity across Northern Ireland, across the island of Ireland. We saw that domestic abuse affected everyone. There was a grey area where people were not identifying parental alienation and coercive control, or acknowledging its extent.
Donna Maria, manager of La Dolce Vita Project.
“There was a complete lack of support,” said Donna Maria. She said she had seen many people suffering when they were leaving domestic abuse situations and fighting to see their children.
She also highlighted the fact Dolce Vita does not work with anyone who has a current or pending domestic abuse conviction.
“Dolce Vita is part of Parental Alienation International and part of the Parental Alienation Study Group and what we have seen is mothers, fathers, grandparents having limited contact with their children.
“Sometimes, when we have been able to intervene early, the other parent has then realised that they may not have dealt with their own issues in regards to the past relationship, whereas the parent who has come to us has engaged. We may then refer them to mediation to try and come up with a mutual agreement for contact time. One parent may not have realised how they were affecting the other’s parent-child relationship.
“When there is parental alienation, there iis an increase in mental health issues and anxiety disorders There is also serious risk then of parents having suicidal ideation. The end result is a traumatic separation and loss of the parent-child relationship.
“This is where our work is really focused, supporting families and their relationships to prevent this harm from escalating.
“Parental alienation has a serious impact on the children. It affects their own relationships, their education, social well-being and mental health. What happens is children are being taught to hate the other parent.
“What we are seeing is intergenerational abuse and what we are teaching children is, this is how you deal with separation,” said Donna Maria.
Dolce Vita is trying to encourage parents to nurture all relationships, regardless of what has happened, when it is safe to do so.
According to Donna Maria, parental alienation affects children, parents and grandparents.
“Grandparents on the other side are completely wiped out. Children lose that side of their personality, that part of their family life. They do not get to see the other side of their family.
“The ethos of the group is to try and nurture the child-parent relationship.”
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