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Separation Painful for Fathers

Media Statement – For Immediate Release 21 July, 2009

Separation Painful for Fathers

“Separation is a painful and difficult process for all involved, and particularly for parent’s whose children no longer live with them,” said Cary Hayward, National Practice Manager of Relationship Services.

A report released today by the Families Commission, ‘Pathways through Parental Separation’ highlights the experiences of separated fathers whose children no longer live with them.

“Many parents who are separating undertake counselling funded by the Family Court. This counselling is very helpful in many cases. However it is geared towards helping the parents reach agreement on arrangements for the children. There may not be so much focus on helping parents come to terms with the separation and what it means for them; something the fathers in this report referred to as Separation Coaching.”

“We agree that there is a need for support or coaching for parents who are going through a separation. It can make a big difference to their lives, and to their children,” said Mr Hayward.

The fathers in the report also believed that the counselling process seemed to suit women more. “This is something which, as counsellors, we need to be aware of.”

“It’s important that men find a counsellor they are comfortable with, that they can talk with”, said Mr Hayward. “Often men will find it easier to talk to a male counsellor.” A quarter of Relationship Services counsellors are men.

Relationship Services welcomes this report, and will be working to address the issues it raises.

“This report gives an insight into the pain that many men experience following separation, particularly when the contact they have with children is greatly reduced.”

The reality is that men are still most likely to be working outside the home rather than being responsible for the day to day care of their children. This makes it very difficult for many fathers to maintain the level of contact they’d like with their kids after separation, which is a real source of grief.”


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