Published in Blog by Tavistock Relationships on May 5th 2023
The Archbishops’ Commission on Families and Households has published its long-awaited report, ‘Love Matters’…
Tavistock Relationships is pleased that the Commission has recognised not only that ‘funding for relationship support has been the responsibility of different government departments over decades and the scope has gradually narrowed’ but that this reduced funding has sought to only address ‘poor parenting and anti-social behaviour and more recently to support parents in conflict. While these programmes are laudable, the original aim - to support all kinds of couple relationships under stress as soon as difficulties arise - has been lost.’ We welcome the CofE’s commission’s conclusion that ‘this move away from the original intent has far-reaching negative consequences for couples, children and society in general.’
... this move away from the original intent has far-reaching negative consequences for couples, children and society in general.
The report notes that in 2021 there were 2.3 million separated families in Britain, involving 3.6 million children; and that the levels of conflict children witness before, during and after separation influence the longer-term impacts which can continue well into adulthood, including anxiety and depression, substance abuse, conduct problems, academic difficulties, and criminality.
... invest in accessible and affordable relationship support. ... this should be available for all couples facing relationship difficulties, long before the relationship breaks down.
We are very pleased to see the Commission recommend that the Government ‘invest in accessible and affordable relationship support.’ We agree that ‘this should be available for all couples facing relationship difficulties, long before the relationship breaks down. This would best be established in a strong cross-government approach to all aspects of relationship support.’
We agree with the Commission about the importance of ensuring that building strong and stable relationships in every family and household is central to the priorities of every government department, with a designated Cabinet-level Minister holding responsibility for the implementation, oversight and publication of a family review. Whether or not a strengthened Family Test, as the Commission recommends, is really the solution though is a conclusion we would question.
This report has been in the pipeline for around two years. Its conclusions have been arrived at by others, both within and without the relationship support sector, for years. Will this report make any difference? Will the Government finally see the light and develop a cross-departmental relationships strategy which would see relationship support provided before couples reach crisis levels, and a coordinated approach to parental separation developed? We can only hope.