Interesting Read from the UK - Food for Thought and Debate
Britain's 130,000 absent dads: One in five fathers lose contact with children from earlier relationships
- More than one in five men who live with second families never meet the children born during earlier relationships
- Fewer than one in 12 say they see the children from first family every day
- Almost 130,000 fathers have no contact with their children at all
- Nearly a third say they do not have a close relationship with them
Serial fathers who leave their homes and go on to start second families are the men most likely to lose contact with their children, research has found.
More than one in five men who live with second families never meet the children born during earlier relationships, it said.
Fewer than one in 12 say they see the children from their first family every day and nearly a third say they do not have a close relationship with them.
In total, 129,000 fathers do not have any contact with their children and 300,000 do not pay to support them.
The way men abandon their children when they set up a new family was detailed in a study by the NatCen research group and funded by the Government’s Economic and Social Research Council.
It said fathers of second families are twice as likely to lose all contact with children as men who remain single after their family breaks up.
The findings underline concerns over the impact on children in single-parent families over the lack of men in their lives.
Earlier this year the Centre for Social Justice think tank found that a million children live in ‘men deserts’, in families without fathers and in neighbourhoods and schools where they rarely meet an adult male.
The NatCen report found that nearly a million men have children they do not live with - around one in 20 of all fathers.
Professor Margaret O’Brien of
the Thomas Coram Research Unit which contributed to the study said: ‘It
appears that some fathers may be losing contact with non-resident
children when they start new families or when they are struggling
The report was based on a series of large-scale state and independent studies, including the British Household Panel Survey, which has followed the lives of more than 5,000 families for two decades.
It said: ‘One factor that is linked with fathers’ poorer contact with non-resident children is if other dependent children live with them - either their own or their new partner’s.’
Researchers said: ‘This compares with 10 per cent and 14 per cent respectively for fathers who are not currently living in second families.
‘This may suggest that as fathers go on to have a second family they can lose contact with children from previous relationships.
‘Only 69 per cent of fathers with ‘two families’ report having a close relationship with the children who do not live with them.
‘By contrast, 86 per cent of the fathers who have not had a second family remain close to the children from their earlier relationship.’
The figures for non-resident fathers who do not pay maintenance to mothers or otherwise support their children are much lower than those accepted in Whitehall, where it has long been thought that well over a million men do not pay to support their children.