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FNF research maps "The Father's Journey"

David Lammy MP 'The Father's Journey' is a research report carried out jointly by Families Need Fathers and the Fatherhood Institute for the Westminster All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fatherhood.

The survey examined fathers' experiences in the years before and after separation, and their use of support services during this time.  The results revealed that separation can often have a dramatically negative impact upon a father's employment prospects, health and mental wellbeing, and that much work still needs to be done to ensure that these fathers can access the information and support they need.

Fathers who separate from their wives or partners face a tough transition which involves increased risk of unemployment, absence from work through sickness and declining mental health.  The survey of 295 separating and recently separated dads found that two-fifths (41%) had changed their working patterns in the year before separation, and just over half (53%) in the year following.

Overall, 11% of the fathers who responded to the employment questions became unemployed or were signed off sick in the pre-separation year, and 22% in the year after.  Those reporting changes in the year pre-separation were most likely to report moving to a different employer (46%), increased working hours (30%) and changing position within the same company (24%). Changes in the post-separation year were most likely to involve moving to a different employer (34%), becoming unemployed (33%) and being signed off work due to illness (19%).

Three-fifths of survey respondents (61%) said their mental health had worsened during the post-separation year, and 54% in the year before separation. Half (49%) said their relationship with their children was weaker in the year after separation (and 19% in the year before) – although interestingly, 35% said their relationship had improved post-separation (and 29% in the year before).

David Lammy, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fatherhood, commented, "These are very worrying figures. They show the real need for public services to offer relationship support for all families, when times are good and when times are more difficult. The hidden suffering revealed by this report should not be ignored."