Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage
OK folks, this is it – the 50th and
final edition of the newsletter for 2014! We’d like to wish you all a joy-filled
and peaceful Christmas, and we look forward to returning to the fray full of
pith and vigour (or at least turkey) on 5th Jan next
Happy Christmas from the 2-in-2-1
Bullying husbands face five years
in jail for 'controlling behaviour'
Do People Really Understand the
Causes of Their Own Divorces?
Bullying husbands face five years
in jail for 'controlling behaviour'
Bullying husbands who keep their wives downtrodden by banning them
from having friends, hobbies and access to money could face five years in jail
under a new criminal offence reports
the Telegraph. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said the Government is to
press ahead with a new domestic abuse offence of "coercive and controlling
behaviour" - which will apply equally to men and women. The offence will outlaw
behaviour which amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse but,
crucially, stops short of violence.
It comes after the Government unveiled a “Cinderella” law earlier
this year which will see parents who starve their children of love and affection
being prosecuted for “emotional cruelty”. Both proposed offences mark
significant incursions by the State into what have previously been regarded as
A Home Office spokesman said the law would be drafted carefully so it
did not affect "ordinary power dynamics" in marriages and other relationships.
"Victims of coercive control can have every aspect of life controlled by their
partner, often being subjected to daily intimidation and humiliation," the
spokesman said. "There are a number of ways that witness testimony could be
supported at prosecution. These include using documentary evidence such as
threatening emails and text messages, and bank statements that show the
perpetrator has sought to control the victim financially."
The type of behaviour the Government is seeking to outlaw includes
people who control "minute aspects" of their partner's lives, such as "when they
are allowed to eat, sleep and go to the toilet," he added. It will cover not
just spouses and partners but other family relationships as well. "The offence
will be drafted to ensure that it is clear and proportionate and does not impact
on ordinary power dynamics in relationships," he said.
Home Office research has previously shown that 16 per cent of men
admit to being victims of domestic abuse during their lifetimes compared with 30
per cent of women. The new controlling behaviour offence was floated in a
consultation paper earlier this year and ministers will now go ahead with
Mrs May said: "Domestic abuse is a hideous crime that shatters the
lives of victims, trapping them in cycles of abuse that too often end in tragic
and untimely deaths. Coercive control can be tantamount to torture. In many
cases, dominance over the victim develops and escalates over the years until the
perpetrator has complete control. Putting a foot wrong can result in violent
outbursts, with victims living in fear for their lives. Meeting survivors of
domestic abuse and hearing their shocking stories has made me all the more
determined to put a stop to this scourge on our society. The government is
committed to protecting the victims of this terrible crime and it is clear that
this new offence has the potential to save lives.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: "The government’s
announcement of a new domestic violence law is a significant first step towards
protecting women experiencing domestic violence. “We welcome the Home
Secretary’s announcement that the government will criminalise the patterns of
coercive, controlling, and psychologically abusive behaviour which lie at the
heart of the abuse so many women experience. We hope this new law will lead to a
real culture change, so that every woman experiencing control can get the
support she needs to break free safely. We look forward to working together with
the Home Office to ensure the new law is effective, and that the police get
specialist-led domestic violence training so they know how to use it. We are
pleased the government has listened to the voices of survivors and professionals
contained in the Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaign.”
Q: How many children won't be with
both their birth parents this Christmas? A: Over 4
report from the Marriage Foundation today shows that one in three children
will spend this Christmas without both parents. (See also
Fifty years ago, only one in ten children missed out on Christmas
with both parents. Many more would have had to put up with squabbling parents
who remained together. Back then, almost all parents got married before having
children. The flip side was that it was difficult to end a bad
Today we’ve gone too far
in the opposite direction. One in three children now miss out. While it’s right
that there are fewer barriers and taboos to splitting up if the relationship is
unhealthy, far too many parents never establish some plan for the future before
having children in the first place. Four million children is far too many. For
the sake of the next generation, we need to rediscover the importance of prior
commitment before having children.
One in four married couples only
stay together for their children ... and a FIFTH plan to split after a final
[We have included this since it has been published, even though we
think it is possibly the most misguided article we have covered all year – a
highly skewed sample, and conclusions that bear no relationship to the academic
A quarter of married couples are only together for their children -
and plan to split once they grow up, a new study has found reports
the Daily Mail. According to a poll of 2,000 married parents, affairs,
growing apart and 'becoming more like friends' are among the top reasons for
being unhappy in a relationship,
staying in a bad marriage and putting on a front for the sake of the family
could do more harm than good for children, a family lawyer warns. Many are too
worried about the effect a divorce would have on their youngsters to call it
quits, according to the research commissioned by law firm Irwin Mitchell. And
almost one in five (19 per cent) are considering staying together over the
Christmas period before putting an end to their marriage in
But it also emerged that of those who have already divorced a
partner, one in four (26.5 per cent) stayed in the relationship longer than they
wanted to for the children - and almost eight in ten (78.5 per cent) now regret
Martin Loxley, head of the Family Law team at Irwin Mitchell
solicitors, said: 'We see many couples in relationships where they aren't happy,
or don't really want to be in, but who stick together for the sake of their
children. While it is an understandable reaction for parents to feel that it
would be better to stay together to avoid the impact of a relationship breakdown
on the children, in some cases doing so may only serve to increase the long term
adverse effects on them. Children can often pick up on things and regardless of
how much of a united front you put on, youngsters, particularly older ones, can
sometimes see through it. In some
cases, children feel 'cheated' if, when they get older, they realise their
parents were putting on a "front" during their childhoods.'
Unhappy couples will mask the problems in their relationship by going
on 'date nights', continuing to take family holidays, keep problems bottled up
and arguing in another room, away from the children. Mr Loxley said: 'There is
help available to parents to work together to ensure that their children are
affected as little as possible by a break-up, allowing all to be happier in the
longer term. If you are in an unhappy relationship, and if a divorce or
separation is handled sensitively by both parents, children can and do prosper
more than they might have done, had their parents stuck together, but in an
The study found four in ten are currently in a marriage they aren't
completely happy with, with more than a third saying they have too much to lose
to get divorced. Many feel trapped by not having the money to live alone, not
being able to afford the divorce or wanting more time to make a final
decision. But 37 per cent of
married parents admit they have considered asking their other half for a
divorce, only to hold off due to concerns about how it would affect their
children. More than a third admitted they have stayed in a marriage longer than
they would have liked to save their children any distress, with 21 per cent
considered themselves as separated, despite still living with their partner and
acting like a couple in front of their offspring.
Researchers also found 18 per cent have a date in mind to end their
relationship, but while more than one in five have set this at a couple of
months, one in 20 are planning to wait ten years or more before calling it
quits. One in five unhappy parents admitted to waiting until their children
reached at least 14 before going ahead with a divorce.
Another one in five intend to see out the Christmas and New Year
celebrations as a family before making a decision on whether to call time on
their marriage. And 27 per cent of parents will be making more effort to hide
any marital woes over the Christmas period with most planning to keep their
problems bottled up rather than discussing them. Admirably, 42 per cent will
make a positive effort to ensure that any arguments take place away from their
children or loved ones.
Martin Loxley of Irwin Mitchell added: 'Bringing a relationship to an
end is a difficult decision and not one to be rushed. We've worked with many
parents, all of who want to minimise the impact of divorce or separation on
their children. For some, this might result in their delaying a date for
separation. For others, working closely with professionals, including mediators,
counsellors and therapists, can help the family to address arrangements
constructively and positively. There is a wealth of information available to
parents - and children (in an age-appropriate way) - to help them come to terms
with a huge change and move forward to the next chapter of their lives. There
are many ways that an amicable separation can be achieved to have a minimal
impact on any children involved. The most important thing is that both parties
are prepared to put their kids first during the process and avoid fighting over
issues, as involving children in a tug of love can be extremely upsetting and
harmful for them.
'Studies have shown that if parents are not happy their feelings will
inevitably affect the whole family no matter how hard they try to hide it.
Parents may be worried about the stigma of divorce or the financial
implications, but ultimately people in this situation need to seek specialist
advice and endeavour to ensure that what they do is best for everyone
and Public Opinion
Do People Really Understand the
Causes of Their Own Divorces?
Leah fought with her new husband, Gary, on their wedding night says
Family Studies. Within a month, their marriage “crashed and burned.” Leah,
then 23, had been in a relationship with Gary since she was sixteen. When they
argued before they were married, Leah said they would always fix the problem.
“But once we were married,” she said, “we didn’t want to.”
What did they argue about? Gary didn’t work—he had been diagnosed
with bipolar disorder, and he was uncomfortable in public places. Leah
understood that he had a “real disorder” and that it was difficult for him. But
she figured that if he isn’t having an anxiety attack, he should be doing
“And he just never did,” she said exasperatedly. “He was just content
with sitting around playing video games. If you’re fine to play video games, you
could do something. And I even told him a million times, ‘At least take care of
To pay her mortgage and other bills (Leah owned the house), Leah
worked two jobs. When she got home, Gary would be playing video games, and their
house was a wreck. “And I got to where I hated him so much,” Leah said. To make
Gary mad, she would get drunk.
To add to the stress, Gary invited a friend who was down on his luck,
and his child, to live with them for a time. When Leah brought that up in
arguments, Gary reminded her that she had let her sister live with them for a
Then there was his family—particularly his mother—whom Leah said
never really liked her. Leah blamed what she saw as Gary’s laziness on his mom:
she coddled him, she says.
Looking back, Leah wishes that they had been more financially stable
before getting married. About half of their arguments, she estimates, were about
money. “I’d yell at him for never working, he’d yell at me for drinking, and I’d
yell at him over the bills some more,” she said. She added, “Money really does
do a lot to stress people out.”
Within a year of marriage, they had separated. After separation, they
did reconcile for a time, though that ended after Gary accidentally texted Leah
a message intended for another woman. Leah concluded he was cheating, and soon
after their marriage ended.
It’s noteworthy that while Leah was sympathetic to the difficulty
that Gary’s bipolar disorder presented him, and mindful about their money
problems, she ultimately didn’t interpret the essential challenge in their
marriage as either a mental health crisis or an economic crisis. Rather, she
interpreted it as a crisis of character. “He never worked,” was her simple
response to our first question about what contributed to the divorce, before
adding later “He refused to do anything.”
Leah’s story raises the question, “Why do most people
When Paul R. Amato and Denise Previti examined 208 ever-divorced
people’s open-ended responses to the question, “What do you think caused the
divorce?”, they found 18 categories of responses. The most often-cited category,
infidelity, was cited by 22 percent of people. Other reasons included “drinking
or drug use” (11 percent), “loss of love” (4 percent), and “financial problems”
What’s surprising is that, despite the common perception that money
is at the root of many marriage problems, few divorced people blamed it for
ending their marriage. Moreover, the authors found that only 9 percent of people
identified “external factors” (such as lack of money or employment problems) as
the cause of divorce. Most people cited a problem with their former spouse or
with the relationship itself.
That finding appears to confirm something April A. Buck and Lisa A.
Neff note in their article on “Stress Spillover in Early Marriage”: “When asked
to explain the success or failure of their relationships, individuals rarely
acknowledge the role the relationship context may have played in shaping those
outcomes.” They also remark on the “common belief in Western society that
successful marriages result when both partners ‘work’ at the relationship by
engaging in active efforts to behave and think” in ways conducive to a good
Buck and Neff’s view of the research on how stress affects
relationships leads them to think that achieving a successful relationship is
more complicated than that. As they approvingly quote Ellen Berscheid, “Some
very strong relationships dissolve—not because they weren’t close or committed
or loving—but because fate … put their relationship in harm’s way.” Thus,
whereas divorced people tend to focus on things within a couple’s control, some
of the sociological research on divorce emphasizes that the circumstances
largely outside of their control—that is, the environment in which relationships
are imbedded—matter at least as much.
The research on how stress affects married couples is intriguing, and
it suggests that a person’s environment probably plays a bigger role than most
divorced people acknowledge in surveys. One suggestive finding from this
literature comes from a study of 82 middle-class newlyweds. The researchers
asked the couples to keep seven-day diaries at three different points over a
four-year period about their satisfaction with the relationship, their
perception of relationship problems (for instance, problems with “showing
affection” or “trust”), and the level of “external stress” that they were
experiencing (such as the death of a friend or family member).
They found that when wives (but not husbands) reported higher than
average levels of external stress, they were less satisfied with the marriage.
What is more surprising, though, is the exact way in which the stress affected
the wives. As the authors write, “As wives’ external stress increased, they also
tended to perceive more specific problems within the relationship.” And as
external stress increased, wives were more likely to blame husbands for
behaviours that they had overlooked or excused during low-stress
The main point here is that stress talks. You can see the dynamic in
the couple whose story I described above: whereas before marriage Leah may have
been willing to excuse Gary’s unemployment because of his bipolar disorder,
after marriage—when she said stress increased—she began to focus on it as a
So what is really going on? Did Leah and Gary divorce because Gary
didn’t contribute enough to their marriage or because of factors that are
largely outside of their control, like his struggle with bipolar disorder? The
answer, I think, is a little bit of both.
It’s probably true that ordinary people’s focus on non-environmental
reasons for divorce at least partly reflects their sense of agency—the reality
that we are not mere victims of fate. And research from psychologists like
Martin Seligman supports this common intuition. In fact, Seligman criticizes a
version of social science which he critiques for assuming that “individuals are
no longer responsible for their actions, since the cause lies not in the person
but in the situation.” Of course, as a good social scientist, Seligman
acknowledges that the environment dramatically affects a person, and that some
of us grow up in harsher social environments than others. But he believes that
his own discipline, psychology, can do more to emphasize the character traits
that empower people to learn from suffering in positive ways.
In thinking about how to reduce divorce, then, we need a two-pronged
effort. Leaders should recognize how their decisions can contribute to making
either a healthy environment for marriages or a toxic one. For instance,
political leaders must ensure that poor and working-class people who struggle
with mental illness have affordable and quality mental health care. Corporate
leaders should strive to form companies in which all adult employees are paid a
living wage. At the same time, as the success of organizations like Alcoholics
Anonymous demonstrates, there is also great power in appealing to people’s sense
of agency, and identifying those character traits that enable people to
experience suffering as a pathway to greater character—or in this case, the
traits that enable couples to grow closer together, not farther apart, when life
Family-friendly policies increase
Employers could benefit from a more productive workforce if they
introduce family-friendly policies, a new study has found reports
BPS. According to research by the University of Texas at Dallas, published
in Public Personnel Management, measures such as offering on-site childcare,
restricting overtime and allowing maternity and childcare leave have a positive
effect on an employee's state of mind.
This, it stated, in turn improves their productivity, as well as job
satisfaction levels and people's commitment to their job.
Bin Bae, lead author of the study, commented: "I was interested in
family-friendly policies because my mother is a working mom. She has to balance
her job in the workplace and raising a family." He added that being able to
benefit from family-friendly policies is good both for families and society in
The team behind the study is now keen to investigate the impacts of
each individual family-friendly policy.
Professor Suzan Lewis from Middlesex University Business School, a
Chartered Psychologist, comments: "While this is an encouraging finding there is much evidence that the impact
of so-called family-friendly policies tends to depend largely on how they are
implemented. Not all formal family-friendly policies are reflected in actual
family friendly practices. These
policies are most likely to have
positive organisational outcomes in contexts when there are supportive
managers and a supportive culture. Most research looks at large organisation but
a recent international review of research on SMEs also suggests links between
largely informal family friendly
practices and productivity."
Early caregiving experiences have
long-term effects on social relationships, achievement
Do the effects of early caregiving experiences remain or fade as
individuals develop? A new study has found that sensitive caregiving in the
first three years of life predicts an individual's social competence and
academic achievement, not only during childhood and adolescence, but also into
The study, by researchers at the University of Minnesota, the
University of Delaware, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
appears in the journal Child Development. It was carried out in an effort to
replicate and expand on findings from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and
Youth Development, which showed that early maternal sensitivity has lasting
associations with children's social and cognitive development at least through
"The study indicates that the quality of children's early caregiving
experiences has an enduring and ongoing role in promoting successful social and
academic development into the years of maturity," notes Lee Raby, postdoctoral
researcher at the University of Delaware, who led the study.
caregiving is defined as the extent to which a parent responds to a child's
signals appropriately and promptly, is positively involved during interactions
with the child, and provides a secure base for the child's exploration of the
The researchers used information from 243 individuals who were born
into poverty, came from a range of racial/ethnic backgrounds, and had been
followed from birth into adulthood (age 32) as part of the Minnesota
Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation. Observations of interactions between
mothers and their children were collected four times during the children's first
three years of life. At multiple ages during childhood and adolescence, teachers
reported on children's functioning in their peer groups and children completed
standardized tests of academic achievement. During their 20s and early 30s,
participants completed interviews in which they discussed their experiences with
romantic relationships and reported their educational attainment.
Individuals who experienced more sensitive caregiving early in life
consistently functioned better socially and academically during the first three
decades of life, the study found. The associations were larger for individuals'
academic outcomes than for their functioning in peer and romantic relationships.
Moreover, early caregiving experiences continued to predict individuals'
academic, but not social, functioning after accounting for early socioeconomic
factors as well as children's gender and ethnicity. Although families' economic
resources were important predictors of children's development, these variables
didn't fully account for the persistent and long-term influence of early
caregiving experiences on individuals' academic success.
"Altogether, the study suggests that children's experiences with
parents during the first few years of life have a unique role in promoting
social and academic functioning--not merely during the first two decades of
life, but also during adulthood," according to Raby. "This suggests that
investments in early parent-child relationships may result in long-term returns
that accumulate across individuals' lives. Because individuals' success in
relationships and academics represents the foundation for a healthy society,
programs and initiatives that equip parents to interact with their children in a
sensitive manner during the first few years of their children's life can have
long-term benefits for individuals, families, and society at large."
The Uncertain Legal Basis for the
from Family studies addresses the legal regime that affects donor-conceived
family communities. It shows how these new relationships both reinforce and
complicate the social, cultural, and economic meanings of family, where the law
fits into all of these relationships, and why—based on the strong interests and
emotional connections between members of these new communities—we might consider
broader legal protections. It provides a typology of legal approaches to these
new familial relationships created through donor conception.
Are Americans Becoming Less
We were intrigued by this
from Science of Relationships. We’ve written extensively about attachment
styles in romantic relationships (for example, read here and here for more on
this topic). In a nutshell, people who are anxious tend to intensely desire
connections with other people and are worried that their partners will abandon
them whereas those who are avoidant tend to be wary of closeness to others and
often feel that their partners want to be closer to them than they would like.
Anxiety and avoidance are forms of insecure attachment, and those who do not
have these characteristics have a secure attachment.
Research on attachment styles in romantic relationships began in the
late 1980s; more than 25 years of research on the topic has shown the importance
of attachment for many aspects of relationship functioning. And now with two
decades of data on attachment researchers can ask, and answer, interesting
questions about whether adult attachment styles have changed at the
population-level over time. In other words, have American young adults become
more or less secure since the late-1980s?
In a recent meta-analysis (read more about meta-analysis here),
researchers combined data from 94 different samples, involving more than 25,000
American undergraduate students, collected between 1988 and 2011. In 1988, 49%
of people said they had a secure attachment style (51% were insecure in one form
or another). By 2011 there was a 7% decline in security, with 42% reporting that
they were secure (vs. 58% insecure).
While this research shows
a downward trend in attachment security, it doesn’t indicate why security may be
declining. The authors speculate that changes in parenting styles (since
attachment is thought to arise from interactions with parents), media content
and consumption, or economic uncertainty may be related to this change; however,
these explanations are still speculative since they have not been empirically
Hugs help protect against stress,
infection, say researchers
Instead of an apple, could a hug-a-day keep the doctor away?
According to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, that may not be that
far-fetched of an idea reports
Led by Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of
Psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the
researchers tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, protecting
stressed people from getting sick. Published in Psychological Science, they
found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from
the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and
resulted in less severe illness symptoms.
Cohen and his team chose to study hugging as an example of social
support because hugs are typically a marker of having a more intimate and close
relationship with another person.
"We know that people experiencing ongoing conflicts with others are
less able to fight off cold viruses. We also know that people who report having
social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on psychological
states, such as depression and anxiety," said Cohen. "We tested whether
perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from
stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might
partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person
In 404 healthy adults, perceived support was assessed by a
questionnaire, and frequencies of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs
were derived from telephone interviews conducted on 14 consecutive evenings.
Then, the participants were intentionally exposed to a common cold virus and
monitored in quarantine to assess infection and signs of illness.
The results showed that perceived social support reduced the risk of
infection associated with experiencing conflicts. Hugs were responsible for
one-third of the protective effect of social support. Among infected
participants, greater perceived social support and more frequent hugs both
resulted in less severe illness symptoms whether or not they experienced
suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of
conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an
effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress," Cohen said. "The
apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact
itself or to hugging being a behavioural indicator of support and intimacy."
Cohen added, "Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more
protected from infection."
Hungarian victory at
On Friday, December 5, CitizenGO joined Hungary at the United
Nations to sponsor the Political Network for Values' Transatlantic Summit on the
role of the family in sustainable global development!
Mr. Zoltan Balog, the Hungarian Minister for Human Capacities, told
participants that "family is the most important national resource of Hungary.”
He said that the Hungarian constitution is committed to marriage between one man
and one woman, since it is the best structure for children. Mr. Balog also told
the Summit that Hungary is working to defend the personhood of all human beings,
from the moment of conception. He quoted from the new Hungarian constitution,
which says: "Human dignity shall be inviolable. The foetus shall be protected
from the moment of conception."
This was a major international victory, as we were able to join
Hungary in bringing together so many policy-makers who support family and life!
It was a breath-taking success! More than 60 parliamentarians from 20 countries
in Africa, South America, North America, and Europe came together to sign the
"Declaration on the Rights of the Family," which affirms that "family is the
natural and fundamental unit of society” and that "everyone has the inherent
right to life, commencing from the moment of conception until natural
Men and early labour: study seeks
What was it like being with your partner in the first few hours of
her labour? asks
the Fatherhood Institute
Fathers are often the main support for women during the first hours
of labour when they are typically advised to stay at home. Research shows that this can be a
difficult time for some women but we know much less about men’s experiences. A
researcher at the University of Nottingham is studying ‘Men, Masculinity and
Early Labour’, and is looking for men to take part in research interviews and
focus groups and to share their experiences of being with their partner in early
Is your youngest child 3 months old or younger?
Were you with your partner in the first hours of her
Did your partner’s labour start spontaneously? (she was not
Was the birth in a hospital or birth centre? (not a planned home
If your answer is ‘yes’ to all these questions, Dr Julie Roberts
would love to hear from you. You can contact her to find out how to take part,
or just for more information about the study, by telephone on 0115 8230243 or by
email at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Books, Resources and materials
Relationship education programmes
for adults: a policy briefing from the Relationships
Not sure if this is new, but we only just found it (thanks to Bill
Coffin in the US!) Anyway, since the briefing actually cites work by 2-in-2-1 we
thought it really ought to be here!! Below is just the opening section, so to read
in full click on the link as ever!
“Relationship education programmes form a key element of the
framework of relationship support (see diagram) which the Relationships Alliance
has described in separate publications. Such interventions sit “alongside
interventions at key stress points in people’s lives and more commonly known
specialist interventions like counselling that seek to protect people at times
of identified relationship distress.”
The Relationships Alliance has explored elsewhere a number of
activities – including those which promote relational capability through skills,
training and information (Meier, 2014) ((Coleman and Stoilova, 2014)) – which
comprise this part of the relationships support framework.
This briefing therefore focuses on relationship education programmes
for adults as an area of the relationship support framework which this set of
briefings has hitherto not explored.”
conferences and events
Details of all forthcoming conferences can always be found under our listing at
Below is our running list of current and recent consultations and
campaigns. New items or those requiring action are highlighted. The Reference
numbers are to the newsletter where we covered the subject.
Commission consultation on offences
against the person
The Law Commission is conducting a
scoping consultation, exploring the options for reforming the Offences
Against the Person Act 1861. It asks whether a new statute should include a new
offence of minor injury and a dedicated offence to tackle domestic
In respect of domestic violence the scoping paper asks (at para 5.144
et seq) whether consultees consider that there is benefit in examining whether
reform of offences against the person should include specific offences of
domestic violence. The paper sets out arguments for and against the
establishment of new offences.
Closing date 11th February 2015
OK – presents bought, larder stuffed with food, tree up and decorated
– must be nearly time for Christmas!
About 2000 years ago the birth of a small baby to an unmarried mother
marked the start of a movement that has spread to every part of the globe, has
shaped our calendar, and yes, is marked with some peculiarly materialistic
habits. Amazing what one birth can do!
As we draw to a close on this year’s news it is interesting to me
that there are at least two articles above charting the impact that parents have
on the next generation – first is the paper which notes "The study indicates
that the quality of children's early caregiving experiences has an enduring and
ongoing role in promoting successful social and academic development into the
years of maturity." The second is the research that shows that in just under a
quarter of a century US adults reporting ‘secure attachment’ has fallen from 49%
to 42% - that is a very rapid change.
The relationships we form as adults have a profound effect on the
life chances of the children we bear; and embedded in those life chances is the
capability (or otherwise) in turn to form secure and well founded relationships
as the next generation of parents.
If we want to understand why it seems that on average adults are now
less likely to enjoy stable couple relationships, we may well have to look no
further than the declining proportion of adults who now enjoy the fruits of
secure attachment as children – we have bred (probably through three generations
now) a whole cohort of people who are the victims of parenting that has left
them permanently relationally scarred.
Almost every reader here will have their own stories and experiences
of the challenges of trying to stem this growing tide, and we salute your
efforts (even if we don’t always agree with the means!).
In 2015 no doubt we will rail against the darkness some more, cheer
on those chinks of light, and generally do our best to keep you informed and
thinking about how to reverse this huge trend.
And let’s remember who the true beneficiaries of each life we are
able to touch really are – the generation of children as yet not even conceived
who deserve the chance to grow up with their two natural parents in an
environment marked by love, commitment and stability where they will develop the
patterns of secure attachment.
Every one of those young lives has the possibility that they may
truly change the world – just as one small baby did 2000 years ago.
Human and Fun stuff
A Politically Correct 'Merry
As this is our final email for the year, we bring you this
‘POLITICALLY CORRECT’ Christmas Greeting from our friends at Families First in
NZ (with their tongues firmly in their cheeks) ...
“Best wishes to you for an environmentally conscious, socially
responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral,
celebration of the summer holidays, practiced within the most joyous traditions
of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious
persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those
who choose not to practice a religion at all.
Additionally, we wish you a financially successful, personally
fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted
calendar year 2015, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of
other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, gender, religion, age,
marital status, disability or impairment, sexual preference, family
responsibilities, status as a carer, political beliefs or gender
(Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or
withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the
wishes for her/himself or others and no responsibility for any unintended
emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday
spirit. Any references in this greeting to “The Lord”, “Father Christmas”, “Our
Saviour”, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or any other festive figures, whether
actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from
them in respect of this greeting.)”
All of which we think is a
really fitting end to this year’s newsletters!
Huge thank to all of you for reading, occasionally commenting, even
more occasionally correcting or complaining, oh and also for your financial
Have a peaceful and blessed Christmas – and we’ll be back as ever on
5th Jan 2015 to start the process of delivering the next 50
The 2-in-2-1 Team
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