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Website launched for children whose parents are divorcing
Family lawyers and mediators across the country are joining forces with UK charity Kids in the Middle (KITM) to offer valuable support to children experiencing a family break-up.
Featuring a new website, the initiative is designed to respond to the needs and concerns of children caught up in family breakdown.
Duncan Fisher, who is directing the KITM campaign, said: “Support for children and young people in separating families is persistently overlooked in favour of support for parents.
“The gap between the rhetoric about the importance of children and young people and the reality of their marginalisation is unacceptably wide. Our charity has teamed up with a group of leading family lawyers and mediators to redress the balance.”
There are 100,000 children involved in divorce every year in the UK and the majority of children experiencing family separation say they don’t get listened to.
The recent Government-commissioned “Voice of the Child” report states that “while there has been considerable focus in recent years on the provision of better information and support services for separating parents, there has been little parallel investment in information and support for children and young people.”
The one-stop-shop website is somewhere young people will be able to hear from others who have been through the experience.
A social media campaign will also call on young people to tell their stories and give advice to their peers, and on-line counselling will be delivered in partnership with Relate, the leading relationships charity.
The initiative is funded entirely by family lawyers and mediators.
Tim Lott, novelist and writer of the Guardian’s family column, welcomed the move.
In his column he said: “This strikes me as long overdue. Children are kept in the dark over divorce far too often, usually by parents afraid to share the truth about what is going on.
“But children sense the kind of distress that leads to family breakdown and will make sense of it in their own way, sometimes disastrously – most classically with ‘It’s all my fault’.”
Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Relate, said: “Ongoing conflict can have a profound impact on the youngest members of the family. Empowering children and young people to have their voice heard during family separation increases the chances of reaching and maintaining agreements around things like living arrangements and access.
“This in turn will help the next generation to grow into happier young adults with bright futures ahead.”