Public services must help separated families, says Parentline survey

8 July 2008

Public services need to get better at identifying and responding to the specific needs of fathers, mothers and children affected by divorce and separation, a major new survey by a leading UK parenting support helpline has found.

The Parentline Plus survey Love Your Children More Than You Hate Each Other found that divorce and separation ‘cause huge emotional turmoil for all involved’ and that mothers and fathers often ‘don’t know who to turn to’.

The survey – based on an analysis of 20,000 calls to the Parentline helpline, along with nearly 200 questionnaires and four focus groups involving mums, dads and children – found that the experiences and feelings of mothers and fathers are very different. For example, many lone mothers ring Parentline because their children have insufficient contact with their father, while many fathers ring because they feel mothers deny them contact or poison their children against them.

Conflicts present in mums’ and dads’ relationships ‘are all too often played out after the split’, making it almost impossible to reach voluntary agreements – with money and contact usually the battleground for ongoing conflict. Because mothers, fathers and children are often ‘ashamed, traumatised, isolated and overwhelmed’, services need to reach out and market to them in ways that are flexible and responsive, the survey found.

To download the report, right click on Love Your Children More Than You Hate Each Other under RELATED DOCUMENTS (below), choose ‘Save Target As . . .’ and the pdf should download quickly.

Love Your Children More Than You Hate Each Other

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