In collaboration with support charities, South Kent Mind, and community interest companies, Only Dads and Only Mums; we wanted to gauge the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on separated families and their children, especially during lock-down.

We therefore asked a number of questions based around 3 main themes:

  1. Child Arrangements – for Resident and Non-Resident Parents;
  2. Finances;
  3. Mental Health & Wellbeing.

The survey was run over 2 weeks, and we had 155 respondents complete the questionnaire. We are extremely grateful to these individuals for taking the time to complete our survey.

Main Findings

It was clear that 71% of respondents had changed the current arrangements for their children during lockdown. This demonstrates that the vast majority of parents were co-parenting maturely and responsibly, and most importantly in the best interests of their children. These are worrying times, and for children – some of whom are probably too young to understand what is going on – this suggests that most parents were working together – as they should be. Indeed some 23.4% of Resident parents stated that the Non-Resident Parent had chosen to stop seeing their children during lockdown – and again this demonstrates mature decision making; and we expect that there was a lot of online / virtual methods used to remain in visible contact.

However, disappointingly, it would appear that nearly 24% of Non-Resident parents were stopped from seeing their children during lock-down.

This echoes the rise in numbers of parents who were calling our helpline during lockdown, who were stating that they were now being stopped from seeing their children. Of course, our core service worked very hard to support and help these parents, and at the time of writing we continue to do so; as many of these situations are remaining unresolved.

A further concern noted were that 27.7% of separated parents were stating that there financial situation was getting worse, and 8.4% stated they were already in crisis.

As for mental health and wellbeing; here we noted the following of specific concern:

  1. 21.3% of respondents stated that they ‘Rarely’ felt useful;
  2. 34.2% stated they were ‘Rarely’ feeling relaxed; 11% – None of the time;
  3. 50.3% stated they dealing with problems – ‘Some of the Time’;
  4. 16.8% were ‘Rarely’ thinking clearly;
  5. 38.1% of people stated that they ‘Rarely’ felt close to other people.

All in all we discovered that 41% of people had ‘Below Average‘ scores for mental health and wellbeing (based on the Warwick Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale); and that 53% of people were scoring ‘Average‘.

For the full survey results please click the link below.

DU Survey Results: How child arrangements have changed in the U.K. as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic.