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Gender violence judge handed custody of children to father despite abuse claims

Two sections of same court shelved claims of violence and suspended mother's visiting rights

In a bizarre turn of events in a gender violence case, a Madrid court has given custody of two children to their father after shelving a complaint of abuse against the man filed by their mother.

Judge María del Carmen del Val of the San Lorenzo del Escorial court number 3, which deals with gender violence cases, ruled on March 26 last year that the woman's complaint against her ex-partner was driven by the desire for revenge.

In her report, the judge also said she had based her decision on a report claiming the mother was the cause of a case of so-called Family Alienation Syndrome in the children, which is not recognized by the American Association of Psychiatry or the World Health Organization.

The judge also suspended the mother's visiting rights. Meanwhile, the criminal section of the same court ordered an investigation against the father on November 29 after the mother appealed to the regional High Court. The lower court said that there were indications of abuse against his ex-partner and their two children.

The mother has also appealed the custody decision to the higher court.