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Families need extra support at Christmas

Family support charity Family Lives is expecting to see a rise in the number of calls to its helpline over the festive period, from families struggling to help with the stresses and strains of Christmas.

Jeremy Todd, Family Lives Chief Executive said:

“Christmas can be the toughest time of all for some families. At a time when emotions run high and stresses and strains increase, many support groups close for the Christmas period, meaning cries for help are left unanswered. The fall-out from the pressures of the festive period can often culminate in couples deciding to separate.“

A recent Family Lives survey found that around 45% of respondents discussed access issues, suggesting that they might not be able to see their children over the festive period. From a child-related point of view, 20% of children of divorced parents have unreliable contacts with their parents, whereas 24% suffer from a lack of contact. The Divorce & Separation report also found that callers are more likely to be fathers or non-resident fathers.

Family Lives found from its respondents that:

  • 52% of separated - or in the process of splitting up - parents are unable to reach general agreement about moving forward,
  • recently divorced adults are more likely to feel lonely, and
  • 23% of calls to Family Lives’ Helpline revolved around parental responsibilities during or after divorce/separation.
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