Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage
David Cameron on
The Way We Are Now: New study
reveals our couple, family, friendships, sex and work secrets sex and work
David Cameron on
We were very pleased to have been present last Monday at the
Relationships Alliance Summit where David Cameron made his keynote speech on the
family. You can read it
in full here, and there is much press coverage (1,
and comment from Marriage
Care and Relate
Much was a restatement of existing measures but new measures
Tens of thousands of couples will benefit from relationship
counselling, with the annual budget doubled to £19.5 million. New parents will
get extra help in ante-natal classes and more advice from health visitors once
the baby has arrived.
More than 500,000 families will now receive help via a programme
to support families facing multiple problems, such as unemployment, anti-social
behaviour, debt and truancy. The programme expands from its current focus on
120,000 families, with work starting immediately in over 50 council areas before
spreading across the country.
New figures out today show that the number of adoptions is up by
25% in the last year, thanks to an increase in financial support to councils and
voluntary groups and a faster adoption process. The time it takes to adopt has
reduced for the first time ever. The government will go further and from next
month councils will be able will apply for £19 million national Adoption Support
Fund. Any school child adopted from care will benefit from an extra £1900 of
additional pupil premium money.
A family test on all government policies will be formally
introduced into impact assessments from this autumn. It will see every single
domestic policy examined for its impact on the family. Policies that fail to
support family life will not be allowed to proceed.
Marriage Foundation welcomed the Prime Minister's support for the family but
warned that without explicit support for marriage, the new initiatives will have
little or no impact on family breakdown.
"Actions speak louder than words," said Research Director Harry
Benson. "Coalition policies during their first four years in government would
struggle to pass a 'family test'. We have a tax credit system that pays couples
up to £7,100 more to live apart than together, a tax system that penalises
single earners who choose to leave one parent at home, and a raft of government
forms that pretend living together is the equal of marriage. In terms of
stability, it is anything but."
"Our vast £46 billion annual bill for family breakdown - more than
the entire defence budget - cries out for a genuine family policy that
explicitly supports, encourages and incentivises marriage. Almost all couples -
93% - who remain intact until their children finish school are
If we want to see more children brought up by both parents rather
than one, we need more marriages.
If we want less family fragmentation - that contributes to the
housing crisis, for example - we need more marriages.
If we want more couples with the capacity to care for the elderly,
we need more marriages.
"Family breakdown is not inevitable. But so much is driven by the
trend away from marriage. Few couples who don't marry, who don't make that
explicit commitment to their future together, remain together while they bring
up their children. Mr Cameron has long stated his enthusiasm for commitment and
marriage. He is right. So 'family test' needs to mean 'marriage test'."
Gay marriages more popular among
women than men
More weddings are being held between women than men following the
introduction of gay marriage, according to official
the Telegraph. Of 1,409 gay weddings which took place in the first three
months after same-sex marriages were introduced this year, 56 per cent were
between women and 44 per cent were between men. Experts suggested that the
higher number of women taking advantage of the new law, which came into effect
in March, was down to women seeking a “stable relationship” in which they can
have children. [There will have been 60 - 70,000 opposite sex weddings in the
same period. Ed]
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 95 couples were married
in England and Wales during the first three days after same-sex weddings were
introduced on March 29. The number steadily increased each month, with 351
marriages taking place in April, followed by 465 in May and 498 in June. The
average age of those tying the knot in same-sex weddings was 37 for women and 39
James Brown, a partner in family law at JMW Solicitors, said: "As
with civil partnerships, it appears to be women who are attracted more to the
idea of formalising same-sex relationships and they tend to do so at a younger
age than men as well. That might be because it provides them with stability in a
relationship as they're reaching the average age at which women tend to have
The Government had predicted that the total number of civil
partnership and same-sex marriages would reach 6,000 each year following the
legalisation of gay weddings. The number of people entering gay marriages is
lower than the number of couples who became civil partners after the option was
first introduced in 2005. In total 4,579 civil partnerships took place in
England and Wales in the first three full months of its existence. Of these
around two thirds were male couples and a third female.
The ONS said the initial uptake of civil partnerships could have been
higher because at the time “there was no other option for same sex couples to
formalise their relationship”.
Andrew Newbury, head of family law at Slater & Gordon, said the
overall number of gay marriages between March and June was "surprisingly" low,
adding that he expected it to increase later this year when changes to the law
will allow couples already in civil partnerships to convert to marriage. "We
have received many inquiries from same-sex couples wanting information for how
they can change their civil partnership to a marriage,” he said.
New Zealand, which has a much smaller population, there were 309 same sex
marriages in the first year compared with about 19000 opposite sex wedding; ie,
about 1 in 60 which is comparable to the UK figure.
Home Office launches consultation
on strengthening domestic violence law
A new crime of domestic abuse could be created under government
proposals aimed at better protecting victims and their families reports
CYPNow. The Home Office has launched a consultation on strengthening the law
on domestic abuse by explicitly stating that it covers coercive and controlling
behaviour as well as physical harm. Offences the new law could cover include
threatening a partner with violence, cutting them off from friends and family or
refusing them access to money in order to limit their freedom. Controlling
behaviour is currently covered by legislation that covers stalking and
harassment but it does not explicitly apply to intimate
In launching the
consultation Home Secretary Theresa May is calling for the views of both
victims as well as those who work with them. She said police are currently not
acting swiftly enough when domestic abuse complaints are made and said any
change in the law must be backed up with cultural change among officers. She
said: “I am clear that there must be an immediate and lasting change in the
police response to domestic abuse. This means a change in culture right from the
officers in charge to those on the frontline.”
Annie Hudson, chief executive of The College of Social Work (TCSW),
said bullying, and manipulative and controlling behaviour in family
relationships can have devastating and enduring effects for children. "Recent
serious case reviews poignantly remind us of the role of domestic violence in
rendering children as very vulnerable and at risk," she said. "TCSW would
generally support legal changes that enhance protection afforded to children and
adults, but we need to consider the Home Office proposals carefully and then
respond to the consultation.”
A report by police inspectorate HMIC in March suggested there is a
"postcode lottery" among constabularies when it comes to tackling domestic
abuse. Arrest rates varied from 45 per cent to 90 per cent across England and
Wales’s 43 police forces. Among
questions asked in the consultation is whether the current law is sufficient to
tackle domestic abuse, is a new law needed and if brought in how could a new law
of domestic abuse be effectively implemented.
Research published by the Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse
(Caada) in February this year revealed the scale of the problem among children
in abusive families. Caada’s data found that 46 per cent of children exposed to
domestic abuse were unknown to children’s services prior to working with a
specialist domestic violence worker. In addition, 37 per cent of children
exposed to serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse were not known to
children’s social workers.
This latest move follows the introduction of domestic violence
protection orders in November 2013, which prevent the suspected perpetrator
returning to the family home within 28 days. The order can be made without the
consent of the victim.
Troubled Families expansion to
focus on younger children and health problems
An expansion of the Troubled Families initiative is to focus on
tackling poor health and supporting children under the age of five, the
Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has revealed reports
CYPNow. The government has pledged to increase the number of families
receiving intensive government support to turn their lives around from 120,000
In a separate
announcement communities secretary Eric Pickles said helping younger
children living in chaotic families as well as reducing ill health will be
greater priorities as the initiative expands. This will include a heightened
focus on tackling domestic violence, reducing debt and supporting children at
risk of being taken into care as well as retaining a focus on reducing truancy,
crime and antisocial behaviour.
The focus on health follows latest DCLG research that found
widespread and severe problems such as obesity and mental health conditions
among those being offered support through the initiative. The research found
that 71 per cent of families include someone with at least one health problem
and 46 per cent of families included an adult with a mental health problem. A
third have an adult family member with a long-standing illness or disability. In
a fifth of families a child has a serious illness or disability.
The DCLG says treating such problems just as a medical issue “is
unlikely to be successful” unless it is complemented with the multi-level,
intensive support the Troubled Families initiative offers. Obesity was another
problem highlighted. In research carried out among Salford families being
offered support, 93 per cent of 35- to 54-year-olds were obese. In addition,
half of all families had a record of obesity, compared to a quarter of the
general England-wide population.
The Salford research also found 14 per cent of families had at least
one adult with an alcohol dependency and 13 per cent had an adult with a drug
dependency. England-wide, four per cent of families have a family member being
treated for alcohol dependency.
health was another concern highlighted. A third of children involved in the
initiative have a mental health problem and one in five had a clinical
diagnosis. As a comparison it is estimated that one in ten children in England
have a mental health problem.
One in 20 families included somebody under the age of 18 who was
pregnant, the research also found.
The focus on younger children has been welcomed by Helen Berresford,
head of public affairs at the charity 4Children. She said: “Today’s announced
expansion to families with younger children is very welcome, particularly as we
know that the experiences in a child’s first years are crucial to their life
chances. Across the country half a million families are reported to be living on
the edge of crisis and dealing with a range of serious problems. Every one of
them will need intensive and dedicated support to make a positive difference to
The expansion of the Troubled Families initiative was announced by
Prime Minister David Cameron. It was launched in April 2012 with the aim of
turning around 120,000 families’ lives by April 2015. But figures revealed in
July show just 52,833 families had achieved long-term change.
Pickles said: “The Troubled Families programme has been a brilliant
partnership between the government and councils, changing the way services are
run, saving taxpayers money and turning around the lives of some of the hardest
to help in the country, with kids back in school, youth crime and antisocial
behaviour cut and adults better able to work. Building on this momentum, we are
now able to help even more families and deal with even more problems and I am
delighted that that work will now begin in the next few months.”
and Public Opinion
The Way We Are Now: New study
reveals our couple, family, friendships, sex and work secrets sex and work
A new study of more than 5,000 people has lifted the lid on the state
of the UK’s relationships and found that one in ten – around 4.7 million people*
– has no close friends. Published
last week by Relate [Apologies that we missed it – Ed], the UK’s
leading relationship support organisation, and Relationships Scotland, The
Way We Are Now 2014 is one of the largest studies of its kind. It provides a
window into the most important areas of our lives – from couple and family life
to sex, friendships and interactions with colleagues and bosses.
The study finds some concerning statistics around how close we feel
to others, including one in ten people
saying they don’t have a single close friend and one in five rarely or
never feeling loved in the two weeks before the survey.
The Way We Are Now 2014 also finds a strong connection between our
relationships and our personal wellbeing. It seems that, even in today’s
fast-paced and ever-changing world, relationships still act as shock absorbers
when times are hard and also help us to achieve our goals. Crucially, the study
finds that people who enjoy good quality relationships also have higher levels
of wellbeing, whilst relationships of poor quality are detrimental to wellbeing,
health and how we feel about ourselves.
Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive of Relate, said: “This new study
examines the quality of our relationships, showing a clear link between our
personal relationships and our wellbeing. Whilst there is much to celebrate, the
results around how close we feel to others are very concerning. There is a
significant minority of people who claim to have no close friends, or who never
or rarely feel loved – something which is unimaginable to many of us.
Relationships are the asset which can get us through good times and bad, and it
is worrying to think that there are people who feel they have no one they can
turn to during life’s challenges. We know that strong relationships are vital
for both individuals and society as a whole, so investing in them is
Below is a summary of the study’s top findings:
changing face of family life
Almost one in four have experienced the breakdown of their
parents’ relationship (23%)
62% think money worries are one of the biggest strains on a
Divorce rates have risen significantly over the last 50 years,
leaving generations of children, young people and adults working out how to
navigate family life after separation. But families of all shapes and sizes can
and do have good quality relationships – it might just take some extra effort.
A significant majority (62%) say that money worries are one of the
biggest strains on family relationships. Older people are more worried about
money, with 69% of those aged 65 and over saying money worries were a major
strain, compared with only 37% of 16-24 year olds.
Partners: enduring love
Four out of five people have a good relationship with their
One in ten people in a relationship never or rarely felt loved in
the two weeks before the survey.
The vast majority of us in relationships feel close to our partners,
but there are also some concerning statistics in this section. The numbers of us
who rarely or never feel loved are worryingly high.
But being in a relationship alone isn’t enough to enjoy good
wellbeing – we found that the benefits of being in a couple relationship for
people’s wellbeing were lost when they were dissatisfied with how things were
One in four people are dissatisfied with their sex life
One in four people report having an affair (24%)
With a quarter of us being dissatisfied with our sex life it’s clear
that, for many people, things aren’t as good as they could be.
The Way We Are Now 2014 included an additional survey carried out by
Relate of 250 Relate and Relationships Scotland counsellors, who listed three
factors for a happy sex life: improving communication, making time to be
together and learning how to talk about sex with your partner.
delicate balancing act
More than one in three people say their bosses believe the most
productive employees put work before family (35%)
59% of people have a good relationship with their
42% of people have no friends at work
The picture painted by the work section of the study is an
interesting one. Even though many of us enjoy good relationships with our
bosses, it’s clear that for a significant minority, work and family life seem to
be incompatible. This is especially worrying in an age where the boundaries
between home and work are increasingly blurred, with many of us working from
home and being connected to email out of normal working hours. Trust is crucial
for successful relationships at work, but this is not always easy to achieve
when workplace attitudes and the practicalities of family life clash.
I’ll be there for you
Nine in ten people have at least one close friend
81% of women describe their friendships as good/very good compared
with 73% of men
The vast majority of us have at least one close friend, but it is
significant that one in ten does not. There are also some differences between
men and women when it comes to friendships: women are more likely to have high
quality friendships than men, and women also report that their friendships
improve with age, whereas for men this remains static throughout life.
Relationships and wellbeing
81% of people who are married or cohabiting feel good about
themselves, compared with 69% who are single
83% of those who described their relationship as good or very good
reported feeling good about themselves
62% of those who described their relationship as average, bad or
very bad reported feeling good about themselves
The study finds a clear link between high quality relationships and
high levels of wellbeing. But simply being in a relationship doesn’t guarantee
that people will feel good about themselves: single people feel better about
themselves than those in average, bad or very bad relationships, suggesting it’s
the quality of the relationship that has an impact on wellbeing and
Bigger weddings, fewer partners,
less 'sliding' linked to better marriages
The more people who attend your wedding to share in the launch of
your marriage, the better the chances you will be happily married years down the
Science Daily. And, somewhat counter-intuitively, the more relationships you
had prior to your marriage, the less likely you are to report a high-quality
Those are two of the key findings in a new report, "Before 'I Do': What Do Premarital Experiences
Have To Do With Marital Quality Among Today's Young Adults?," from the
National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. The study challenges
the idea that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" -- the general notion that
what happens in one's younger years, before marriage, stays there and doesn't
impact the remainder of one's life.
How people conduct their romantic lives before they tie the knot is
linked to their odds of having happy marriages, the study's authors argue. Past
experiences, especially when it comes to love, sex and children, are associated
with future marital quality. Those who have had more romantic experiences - for
example, more sexual or cohabiting partners - are less likely to forge a
high-quality marriage than those with a less complex romantic history, the
Raising children from prior relationships can add stress to a
marriage. For women, but not for men, having had a child in a prior relationship
was associated, on average, with lower marital quality.
Study co-author Galena K. Rhoades, research associate professor of
psychology at the University of Denver, said, "In most areas, more experience is
better. You're a better job candidate with more experience, not less. When it
comes to relationship experience, though, we found that having more experience
before getting married was associated with lower marital
More experience may increase one's awareness of alternative partners,
the researchers speculate. People who have had many relationships prior to their
current one can compare a present partner to their prior partners in many areas
- like conflict management, dating style, physical attractiveness, sexual
skills, communication ability and so on. Marriage involves leaving behind other
options, which may be harder to do with a lot of experience, the researchers
More relationship experiences prior to marriage also means more
experience breaking up, which may make for a more jaundiced view of love and
relationships, Rhoades said. It's also possible that some people have
personality characteristics - such as liking to take risks or being harder to
get along with -- that both increase their odds of having many relationship
experiences and decrease their odds of marital success, she
Rhoades and co-author Scott M. Stanley came to these insights by
analyzing new data from the Relationship Development Study, an ongoing national
study based at the University of Denver and funded by the National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development. Between 2007 and 2008, more than 1,000
Americans who were unmarried but in a relationship, and between the ages of 18
and 34, were recruited into the study.
Over the course of the next five years and 11 waves of data
collection, 418 of those individuals got married. The authors looked closely at
those 418 new marriages, examining how the history of the spouses' relationships
and their prior romantic experiences were related to the quality of their
marriages. The 418 subjects were reasonably representative of unmarried adults
in the United States in terms of race and income. All analyses in the report
control for race and ethnicity, years of education, personal income, religiosity
and frequency of attendance at religious services.
Past studies show that couples often "slide" into living together
rather than talking things out and making a decision about it. In this study,
participants who lived together before marriage were asked directly if they made
a considered decision about premarital cohabitation or slid into it; they
indicated their degree of "sliding versus deciding" on a five-point scale. The
more strongly respondents categorized the move as a decision rather than a
slide, the greater their marital quality later on.
"We believe that one important obstacle to marital happiness is that
many people now slide through major relationship transitions -- like having sex,
moving in together, getting engaged or having a child - that have potentially
life-altering consequences," said Stanley, research professor and co-director of
the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, as well
as a senior fellow for both the National Marriage Project and for the Institute
for Family Studies.
Often these risks co-occur. For example, those who have multiple
cohabiting partners are also more likely to have children before marriage and
with more than one partner. "Another way to think about 'sliding versus
deciding' is in terms of rituals," Stanley said. "We tend to ritualize
experiences that are important. At times of important transitions, the process
of making a decision sets up couples to make stronger commitments with better
follow-through as they live them out."
This finding could also simply reflect that couples who deliberately
decided to cohabit are better at talking about important transitions in general,
a skill that could help them build a happy marriage, he added.
Having more guests at one's wedding - the biggest ritual in many
relationships - is associated with higher marital quality, even after
controlling for income and education, which may be proxies for how much the
wedding might have cost, the study found. Among couples who had weddings, the
sample was divided into those who had weddings with 50 or fewer attendees, 51 to
149 attendees, or 150 or more attendees. Among each grouping, 31 percent, 37
percent, and 47 percent, respectively, reported high marital
"In what might be called the 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' factor, this
study finds that couples who have larger wedding parties are more likely to
report high-quality marriages," said W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the
National Marriage Project and a professor of sociology at U.Va. "One possibility
here is that couples with larger networks of friends and family may have more
help, and encouragement, in navigating the challenges of married
"Note, however, this finding is not about spending lots of money on a
wedding party. It's about having a good number of friends and family in your
Stanley added, "Our
bottom-line advice to Americans hoping to marry is this: Remember that what you
do before you say 'I do' may shape your odds of forging a successful marital
Does love make sex better for most
Love and commitment can make sex physically more satisfying for many
women, according to a Penn State Abington sociologist reports
Science Daily. In a series of interviews, heterosexual women between the
ages of 20 and 68 and from a range of backgrounds said that they believed love
was necessary for maximum satisfaction in both sexual relationships and
marriage. The benefits of being in love with a sexual partner are more than just
emotional. Most of the women in the study said that love made sex physically
"Women said that they connected love with sex and that love actually
enhanced the physical experience of sex," said Beth Montemurro, associate
professor of sociology.
Women who loved their sexual partners also said they felt less
inhibited and more willing to explore their sexuality. "When women feel love,
they may feel greater sexual agency because they not only trust their partners
but because they feel that it is OK to have sex when love is present,"
While 50 women of the 95 that were interviewed said that love was not
necessary for sex, only 18 of the women unequivocally believed that love was
unnecessary in a sexual relationship.
Older women who were interviewed indicated that this connection
between love, sex and marriage remained important throughout their lifetimes,
not just in certain eras of their lives.
The connection between love and sex may show how women are socialized
to see sex as an expression of love, Montemurro said. Despite decades of the
women's rights movement and an increased awareness of women's sexual desire, the
media continue to send a strong cultural message for women to connect sex and
love and to look down on girls and women who have sex outside of committed
relationships. "On one hand, the media may seem to show that casual sex is OK,
but at the same time, movies and television, especially, tend to portray women
who are having sex outside of relationships negatively," said
In a similar way, the media often portray marriage as largely
sexless, even though the participants in the study said that sex was an
important part of their marriage, according to Montemurro, who presented her
findings at the annual meeting of the American Sociological
"For the women I interviewed, they seemed to say you need love in sex
and you need sex in marriage," said Montemurro.
From September 2008 to July 2011, Montemurro conducted in-depth
interviews with 95 women who lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The
interviews generally lasted 90 minutes. Although some of the women who were
interviewed said they had sexual relationships with women, most of the women
were heterosexual and all were involved in heterosexual relationships.
Objectification in romantic
relationships related to sexual pressure, coercion
To sexually objectify a woman is to focus on her body in terms of how
it can provide sexual pleasure rather than viewing her as a complete human being
with thoughts and feelings. While objectification has long been considered a
problem in the media, how does it affect individual romantic relationships? New
research published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, a SAGE journal, finds that
more objectification of a female partner's body is related to higher incidents
of sexual pressure and coercion says
Researchers Laura R. Ramsey and Tiffany Hoyt surveyed 119 males and
162 females who had been in heterosexual relationships. They found that men who
frequently objectify their partner's bodies by excessively focusing on their
appearance are more likely to feel shame about the shape and size of their
partner's body which in turn is related to increased sexual pressure (i.e., the
belief that men expect sex and that it is a woman's role to provide sex for her
partner) and sexual coercion, both in general and through violence and
"Being more aware of how and when one thinks of their partner as an
object, sexually or otherwise, could help relationship partners avoid sexual
pressure and coercion and increase communication and respect within their
relationship," the researchers wrote.
The data also supported the idea that women internalize
objectification from their partners. This internalization is related to feeling
shame about their bodies, a decrease in asserting themselves, and a decrease in
expressing what they do and do not want to do sexually.
"Acknowledging objectification in their relationships may help women
realize when they lack agency and allow them to resist and avoid sexual
pressure," the researchers continued. "Furthermore, thinking about
objectification in terms of agency and sexual pressure could also have
implications for women's relationship satisfaction, both sexual and otherwise.
Women who feel that they have no control and who experience sexual pressure from
their partner will not be as satisfied as women who feel like they have control
over their body and the decisions in the relationship."
The researchers discussed additional ideas for decreasing
objectification in heterosexual relationships.
"Activists should continue their work reducing the objectification of
women in our culture, such as through the recognition and removal of
objectifying images in the media. However, as male objectification of women is
more common than female objectification of men, the onus is on men to reduce
objectification and sexual violence. It is of utmost importance that activists
and educators work with men to reduce the objectification of women, both in
general and in the context of romantic relationships."
Many thanks to all those who contacted me re last week’s Soapbox.
Some had words of encouragement (always appreciated!) whilst others sent
information and resources. We were particularly interested to learn of a free
resource, the Kick Start Recovery Programme at www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk . It has now been used by over 6,000
people and the feedback is excellent!!
IPPR are about to publish a report on the impact of porn on young
people – they have released an Infographic of some of
their key findings. Our concern however is that this seems to suggest that
Porn is a young people’s problem – it isn’t! It’s endemic in adult relationships, often being
promoted by those trying to help couples with low libido’s or similar sexual
problems in their relationship, and is doing untold harm.
However our concerns that it is the “elephant in the room” with none
of the speakers at the Relationships Alliance Summit mentioning the subject –
not even IPPR! The PM made a passing reference to it in talking about the
measures they are going to bring in on music videos, but nothing else.
Books, Resources and materials
The Relationships Alliance is assembling a knowledgebank of papers,
reports etc related to their work following a number of selection
criteria. It is curated by One Plus One. Currently it contains some 97 items
– all of them in the last five years as far as we can tell.
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.
Marriages by non-religious belief
consultation asks if there is a substantial case for changing the law to
establish non-religious belief ceremonies. This would allow a third type of
legal ceremony, alongside religious and civil ceremonies, for getting married in
England and Wales.
Section 14 defines a belief organisation as ‘an organisation whose
principal or sole purpose is the advancement of a system of non-religious
beliefs which relate to morality or ethics’.
The consultation also seeks views on
which non-religious belief organisations are capable of meeting the
where, if allowed, such marriages would take place
the provision of safeguards to deal with any resulting risks
the equality impacts.
Consultation closes: 18 September 2014
Strengthening the law on domestic
consultation seeks views on whether the current law on domestic abuse needs
to be strengthened to offer better protection to victims. It is specifically
focused on whether we should create a specific offence that captures patterns of
coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate relationships, inline with the
government’s non-statutory definition of domestic abuse.
Consultation closes: 15 October 2014
I wonder how long it takes to write a speech for the Prime Minister?
A couple of hours perhaps by a good researcher to draw together the various
policy measures that have been announced over the past couple of years; add a
smattering of new announcements which have been carefully stage managed into the
press in the preceding days; and then a fine layer of rhetoric blending personal
stories with punchy phrases cherry picked to form the headlines on news stands.
That should do it! Well, at least that’s the impression I was left with as I
listened to David Cameron at the conference last Monday.
The trouble is that the problem runs much deeper than he would like
Any institution that ceases to serve a purpose will eventually cease
to exist – and the family is no exception. Over the past 50+ years we have
steadily removed from the family most of its functions in society. The big
disconnect has been to de-couple sex from procreation, and children from
marriage. Sex has become “adult entertainment (except that we turn a blind eye
mostly to those under 16), and procreation is something now that any woman can
undertake with the help of an unnamed donor and IVF funded by you and me.
Raising of children is increasingly seen as something to outsource to child
minders, play groups, schools etc. And then at the other end of the age
spectrum, care for the elderly is now regarded as a state function with the
family providing useful (cheap) alternative care in some cases.
If the family is to regain it’s proper place in society measures like
a “Family Test” on legislation completely miss the point! What is needed is to
properly define what the core responsibilities of “family” are, and then to
ensure that the full framework of society, including legislation etc, are geared
to ensuring that families can, and do, fulfil those responsibilities. A truly
“Family Friendly” state would recognise this, and would put families at the
forefront of delivering the next generation.
I put this point to the PM in the brief question time after his
speech. I used the example of whether it was my responsibility or his (ie the
government’s) to look after my old Mum?
response? “Hmmm (pause) – there’s a whole new speech in responding to that”.
That was followed by a reflection on responsibilities of government, community
and individuals – and in so doing highlighting the absence of thinking on
responsibilities of family. I
really hope he takes the time to make that speech – after all it shouldn’t take
more than a couple of hours should it!
The 2-in-2-1 Team
Keep us informed - Do keep us
posted on your news, and in particular please let us know details of your
project(s), either present or planned.
Either post it at the forum, or
e-mail us and we'll put it
out there for you.
this email has been passed on to you by a friend, you can request your own copy
by replying to this email with 'subscribe' in the subject line and your name in
the body of the email and we will then send further information about the UK
Marriage News and access to the Forums to the address you reply
costs – Although we don’t charge for the newsletter, we do invite you to
contribute to our costs. You can do so online or by
sending a cheque made payable to 2-in-2-1 Ltd to 11 Lamborne Close, Sandhurst,
Berks, GU47 8JL.
Address – If you change e-mail address please let us know! We automatically
delete addresses after two weeks of unsuccessful delivery attempts. Simply reply
to the Newsletter using your new address with the words change of address in the
subject line and we will update your records accordingly.
Access the forums - To start using the system for
the first time simply go to http://www.2-in-2-1.co.uk/forums/.
Scroll to the bottom of the page where you will see a Login box. Put in your
username and password as above and then press the Log in button. You will only
need to do this login the first time you visit - from then on the system will
recognise you each time you return (unless you use a different
Newsletter is published by 2-in-2-1 Ltd, Company No. 3792423 Registered office:- 11 Lamborne
Close, Sandhurst, Berks, GU47 8JL, © 2014. All rights