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Research and policy updates from our Relationship Support Alliance partners – March 2013

By OnePlusOne, 25 March 2013 Strengthening relationships

All Party Parliamentary Group for Strengthening Couple Relationships

The second meeting of the recently revivified APPG for strengthening couple relationships focused on supporting couple relationships in older age.

Supporting couple relationships in older age is of great importance not only for improving older people’s social connectedness and well-being, but also on account of the impact on wider society of relationship breakdown in older age. Yet despite their importance, older age relationships are often neglected in social policy and practice.

Presentations were given by Marie Claire Shankland (National Advisor for Older People, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)), Sally-Marie Bamford (Assistant Director of Research and Strategy, International Longevity Centre – UK) and Dr Andrew Balfour (Director of Clinical Services at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and Head of the “Living Together With Dementia” Programme), followed by a discussion of the issues raised.

Representation from both the relationship support and ageing voluntary sectors was strong and other notable attendees included David Lammy MP and Professors Philip and Carolyn Cowan from the University of Berkeley, California.

A summary of the event is available here.

TCCR and OnePlusOne respond to  Government consultation on Measuring Child Poverty

In our response to the Government consultation on Measuring Child Poverty, the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and OnePlusOne argued that any multidimensional measure of child poverty should include the quality of the relationship between the parents of a child (whether or not the parents are still in a relationship or not) and the parenting style of the parents (whether or not the parents are still in a relationship or not).

We also stressed our opposition to any move to measure ‘family stability’ in crude terms (i.e. whether or not family breakdown has taken place) given there is evidence to show it is the quality of family functioning and the relationship between parents which have the greatest impact on children’s outcomes.

Read the response to the consultation here.

Try to see it my way: Improving relationship support for men

On 25th February 2013, Relate, in partnership with the Men’s Health Forum, published a report, ‘Try to see it my way: improving relationship support for men’. The report was launched at an event at the House of Lords. It outlines the difficulties men sometimes find in accessing relationship support, and examines the outcomes that men face in the aftermath of relationship breakdown.

The report launched a month into a national awareness campaign encouraging men to get help for their relationships. Adverts have been placed in the washrooms of football and rugby clubs and online. Information, advice and support is available for men at

Relate’s Arguments Check Up

On 5th March, Relate launched its free Arguments Check Up, which allows people to find out how they argue and what that means for their relationships. The online Check Up was written by Relate counsellor Susan Quilliam and helps people identify themselves as one of four arguing types.

To launch the Check Up, Relate commissioned a survey to find out about arguing habits, which found that over a third of parents (36%) argue with their partner once a week or more whereas one in ten (10%) say they argue less than once a year. Find out more here.

Tough times ahead, but families pull us through

Between Christmas and New Year, Relate released results of a survey conducted on attitudes towards 2013. The survey found that six in ten people were worried about their economic prospects on the eve of 2013, but that nine in ten relied on their families when times were tough. This was released to the media and picked up by local and national press, radio and TV. Find out more here.


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