New report reveals true scale of family breakdown in the UK

A recent report by Rachel de Souza, The Children’s Commissioner for England, reveals the true scale of family breakdown in this country.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics discloses that half of all children come from separated households and a quarter of families are headed by a single parent. However a report commissioned by the Government has disclosed that those figures may significantly under represent the true scale of the problem and the latter figure could be as high as one in three.

The report from Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner for England, expresses concern over the effect of increasing separations and the impact on family life, stressing the importance of the family structure which can support in times of crisis and can reduce stress, improve happiness levels and positively affect mental health.

The Report discloses that:

  • 23% of UK families are headed by a single parent (of whom some 90% are women), compared with an EU average of 13%.
  • 44% of under 21’s have not lived with both their parents during childhood.
  • 25% of parents reported an improved relationship with children during lockdown.
  • The amount of time fathers spent on unpaid childcare rose significantly during lockdown but has dropped since.

Ms de Souza is urging Government to put family ‘at the heart of all policy decisions’.

“Having a stable and supportive family, whatever form that takes, can determine a child’s future success. Children with happy families do better in their exams, go on to get better jobs, and have higher hourly income at the age of 25. Family can insulate us from life’s adversity and challenges.”

The Report clearly shows that children of separated parents are ‘more likely to be disadvantaged across a range of outcomes including emotional wellbeing and education’. But, and this is crucial, the impact of parental separation depended on ‘the level of parental conflict’.

At Geldards we put children and their families at the heart of all we do. We are heavily invested in all forms of dispute resolution to keep families, if not together, at least talking and out of a corrosive court system. We have extensive expertise in disputes relating to children and we can give children a voice by involving them in a mediation process. If we can help please contact a member of our Family team below.

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