Children’s ‘sleepovers’: UK data

Posted on July 1, 2012 by


Children staying overnight with their divorced Dads.

Statistical data which I unsuspectingly emailed to an enquirer left him horrified. The graph that appalled him most out of the several sent is depicted left (Figure 4, click to enlarge). It shows that less than 1 in 5 children (18%) have a sleepover facility with their father. And only 1 in 10 has a sleepover at least once a fortnight. (See ‘Population Trends No 140’, ONS, Summer 2010 edit.).

A ‘sleepover’ – for the benefit of the uninitiated – is where a child in the custody and control of the mother is allowed to sleep overnight at the house of the father (either because the court allows it or the mother allows it). So rather than spend just a few daylight hours with the father before having to be returned to the mother’s residence the child spends the night (or two) at its fathers residence.

This form of award is termed ‘sole mother custody’ and accounts for 95% of post divorce child apportionment. Sole father custody and shared custody being too rare to measure.

His original email had requested any information about the level of ‘sleepovers’ in contact arrangements and the level of shared parenting. My reply was that there was a general lack of credible data ad that most of the information which was available was based on small samples or has been gathered for reasons that were extraneous to custody matters.

Tim Loughton MP, the minister for children, said in a June 13th 2012 radio interview that: [1]

  • “Every year up to 87,000 of children are involved in Contact/Residence applications and up to 1/3 of these children lose contact with their NRP.”

If only 18% of the 87,000 children are allowed ‘sleepovers’ with their fathers it represents 15,660 and it means 71,340 are yearly denied this basic human right and effectively ‘orphaned’ by the courts.

Cumulatively, over a ten-year period this amounts to three-quarters of a million children.

This dizzying level of “orphaning” has altered considerably over the recent years, for instance, The Times (Feb 5th 2005) reported that:

  • “An estimated 88,000 children aged under 5 were affected by the separation of their unmarried parents in 2003, compared with about 31,000 children under 5 whose married parents divorced, the research concludes.”

Firstly, this tells us that if 88,000 were under the age of 5 then we can assume a doubling of that number if we are to give an estimate for ‘all dependent children aged under 16.’ We have to add the caveatestimate because British statistics are woefully inadequate. The ONS can dream up irrelevant ways of measuring “Religious homogeneity in households: by religion,” and even subdivide it but age and sex, but don’t ask it to perform important work such as the crucial issue of shared parenting (regardless of ethnicity or religion).

It is difficult to imagine that 160,000 dependent children aged under 16, would in 2005 have had their lives dictated and changed by divorce and court orders. But that has to be the obvious conclusion.

Another way of looking at it, to arrive at the 88,000, would be to imagine that marriage numbers had declined by 50% or that divorce rates had fallen by 50%. This is improbable so it leads one to ask whether Tim Loughton was, inadvertently, only talking about dependent children aged under 16 arising from unmarried couples breaking up ?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) organises ‘Opinions’ survey which includes children living with a non-resident parent (see Population Trends, No 140, Summer, 2010).  From this it created estimates in 2008 – 09 of the number of children who have a non-resident parent and compared the results with ONS Labour Force Survey data. Results from the Opinions survey suggest that there were 3.3 million dependent children in Great Britain who had a non-resident birth parent at the end of 2008. This does not mean that were 3.3 million dependent children lived with their father, although some will share the same non-resident parent.

One of the curiosities of Opinions’ survey found inside Population Trends, No 140 must surely be this:

  • “Despite this [the ‘weighting’ of results], taking an average of both months, approximately 2.1 million households (in Great Britain at the end of 2008) were estimated to contain at least one dependent child with a non-resident parent. This is equivalent to around 9% of all households in Great Britain.”

Previously these Opinions’ surveys were called Omnibus modules. The ONS has made use of other longitudinal surveys including the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), and British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to measure parents, lone parents and dependent children, and the amount of contact the latter had with their NRP (page 57). The fatal flaw with all these studies is that they invariably invite and accept responses from only women, circa 90%.

If this is confusing to the ordinary man in the street, i.e. that a child can be living with its non-resident parent who, by definition, cannot be living with the child, Population Trends, No 140 confesses that :

  • “Unfortunately, since non-resident parents are not resident in the household, standard household relationship questions do not capture them directly, and this usually prevents the creation of non-resident parent estimates. ….. and standard household relationship questions do not capture them directly.” (page 60).

On page 62 the limitations are clearly stated and include:

  1. The Opinions survey interviews only one individual per household, and this individual may have limited knowledge of the characteristics of household members, for example they may not be aware that children have a non‑resident parent.
  1. Estimates from the LFS are based on the prospective assumption that any dependent child that lives with only one non-widowed birth parent is equivalent to a child who has a non-resident parent. In some cases this may not be correct.

Nationally, it was estimates, in 2009, that there were 12.8 million dependent children in Great Britain. Of these, 8.7 million (68%) lived with both birth parents, i.e. intact families / marriages. Lone birth parents – presumably not lone fathers – accounted for 3.9 million (31%) and 0.2 million (1%) lived with neither of their birth parents (ref. Table 3). [2]

Between 1999 and 2009 the percentage of dependent children with one non-widowed lone birth parent increased from 27% to 30% (see  Table below).

Depicted here is the percentage of dependent children living with one non-widowed parent by family status of child and resident parent, using LFS data for Great Britain (click to enlarge).

By far the majority,at a constant 70%, are ‘female lone parents’, half of whom will be divorced or separated.

Cohabiting couples also constantly account (over the 10 year period) for only 11% of the one-parented children. Married couples, perhaps surprisingly account for the same proportion yet they (married couples), represent a much larger statistical body (this would indicate that the velocity, or rate of partnership turnover, is higher among cohabiting couples). The position of lone fathers has if anything deteriorated marginally in the years 1999 to 2009.

Referring back to the graph which heads up this article (known as ‘Figure 4’), Population Trends states that the proportions found in 2007 are similar to the results of 2002, i.e. previous Opinions research. In both 2002 and 2007, around 20% of resident parents reported that children stayed overnight with their non-resident parent at least once a week.

However, it is worth noting that when non-resident parents were asked the same question the reported figure was higher (27% in 2002 and 30% in 2007).

The figures from resident parents (mothers) were also higher when asked about all ‘direct contact’ (including face-to-face contact but without an overnight stay). In this case, resident parents in 2007 reported 36% of children had contact with their non-resident parent at least once a week.

This figure rose to 50% when answered by non-resident parents, i.e. fathers. (p 68). [3]

British statistics once again are shown up as inadequate. They disappoint in their lack of objectivity masquerading as empirical research, especially when one reads that for the Millennium Cohort Study:

  •  “The study mainly consists of interviews with the main carer. This was the mother in 98% of cases.”  [4]

In a sea of 18,800 female respondents what effect will 28 male respondents have.  This perennial ‘gender divide’, characterised by female under-reporting was first noted by Bradshaw and Stimson in a 1997 paper. [5]  Jonathan Bradshaw’s team at the University of York noted irreconcilable difference in responses from resident mothers and non-resident fathers with regard duration and frequency of contact visits and CSA payments etc. (See ‘Non-Resident Fathers in Britain’ abridged Interim Report ), The variances were so great that it prompted an additional urgent detour enquiry. The team then found that all previous studies which also asked only mothers also under-reported the level of father engagement. [6]  In other studies mothers for ulterior motives mis-reported aspects such as how often they were prepared to allow contact and how often the father saw the child. In short, the base data used for policy making was incorrect due to the fair-weather friend attitude of respondents.

Maclean and Eekelaar, never supporters of fathers’ rights for equality, had to admit in the same year that definitive answers were sometimes difficult to give:

  • “It depends on which study is relied on, what is being measured, and who is asked: resident mothers typically report less contact than non-resident fathers; formerly married parents have more contact than ex-cohabitants or those who have never lived together.”

Time-shared arrangements

Since the whole of these results are based on results from a sample of parents it would be prudent to ascertain their composition. The Table below, taken from Population Trends, shows that 35% of respondents were divorced, 15% were separated and 26% had been cohabiting.

A further 21% of parents who replied (mothers in the main) had never married, lived together or cohabited.    

(It is suspected that a ‘typo’ exists in the original Table shown above and “1” should read; “This question is only asked if the respondent is a parent of the child.”)

Just how long a child is ‘deprived’ of its father is a question worth asking. We know in extremes cases it can be for 30 years due to PAS being introduced, but is there an average ?

Results published in Population Trends indicate that 55% of children have for 5 years or more had a NRP (see Table below).

The number of children who have had a non-residence parent for less then 2 years is probably a function of their young age. The categories that are pertinent are the ‘more than 2 but less then 5 years’ and the ‘5 years of more’

The Table below shows these percentages as 25% and 55% respectively.

The next three key question are; does the child stay overnight with its father, the non-resident parent; and if so how frequently; and for how long. For the first question the Table below titled ‘Does the child stay overnight with non-resident parent’ i.e. its father, the answer is ‘yes’ in 42% of cases and ‘no’ in 57% of cases.

The second of the questions, the frequency a child stay overnight with its father is shown in the graph which is at the top of the article (see 18%).

The third question is so then for how long, is data not usually collected but it is this time in Population Trends No 140 (see Table below).


Fathers’ organisations might query the figure of 43% a week as a true reflection of children who are able/allowed to stay overnight with their non-resident parent.

For them, and one they can easily relate to is the far more likely figure of 25% once a fortnight. The ‘at least’ element of once a fortnight is dubious and looks suspiciously like the mis-reporting highlighted above).

We come closer to the true reality in the next Table which displays the total time child stays with non-resident parent as relied on by the 2010 survey.

  • 17% of children spend less than one day a month with their father.
  • 66% of children spend less than 10 days but more than 1 day a month with their father.
  • 14% of children spend between 10 and 20 days a month with their father.
  • 3% of children spend more than 20 days a month with their father.

We can speculate that Australian fathers, prior to 2006, could only care and enjoy their children’s company for about the same amount of time as the Table shown above.

We can also speculate that they (and we) would have preferred to see the 3% figure double to 6% or more for fathers and children who could spend more than 20 days a month together. But it is on the region of the “between 10 and 20 days a month” where a slight increase would realise shared parenting.

There has been some sort of unspoken fear that shared parenting will rob mothers of all contact with their children. The mask of increased potential for abuse and violence has been raised to hide this loss of a female monopoly.

Origins of the fabled ‘10%’ ?

In a paper titled “Child contact with non-resident parents”, Joan Hunt and Ceridwen Roberts (Jan 2004) it was noted that: [7]

  • ”Some resident parents argue that their concerns about the non-resident parent, particularly about domestic violence, child abuse and abduction, are not sufficiently taken into account. Some non-resident parents claim they are marginalised by a biased legal system.”

The number they relied upon was drawn from the Omnibus survey under the control of ONS and indeed the DCA promulgated it in discounting the need for a reform. But as has been described elsewhere on this series of blog sites relying on a sample to create a national figure for the 10% will always attract criticisms and disbelief if not open hostility.

It was in this very same Jan 2004 paper that the authors Hunt & Roberts along with all of academia accepted that, “Only a small minority of parents use the law to sort out contact arrangements” citing the ONS the number was put at ‘1 in 10’ parents had to go to court to obtain an order.

This was in spite of the contradictory evidence also cited in the same paper that:

  1. 146,914 children in England & Wales experienced parental divorce in 2001,
  2. 68% of them were aged 10 or less
  3. 24% were aged under 5.
  4. current estimates suggest 28% [of children] will be affected by divorce before the age of 16.
  5. over 80% of children of separated parents live exclusively or mainly with their mother.
  6. There may be 2 million non-resident fathers in the population.
  7. between half and 60% of parents agreed contact between themselves
  8. between a fifth and a third had no agreed arrangements (resident and non-resident parent reports differ).
  9. just over half the applications will concern previously married couples;
  10. between 75% and 86% of applicants will be fathers; between 9% and 16% mothers;
  11. a substantial minority are likely to be repeat applications, with some families locked in litigation for many years.

Had they done the arithmetic it should have been obvious to them. But the killer blow is this:

    • In 2002 the courts dealt with 65,192 contact applications under Section 8 of the Children Act.

If there are 65,192 contact applications – and it is conceded that very few are repeat applications – then 1 in 10 would imply Britain had divorce level of over 650,000 per annum.

In regards to the alleged “substantial minority” which represent repeat applications (item 11 above), one only has to look at  the Table below (“Disposal of selected applicants in private law in all tiers of court, 2002”). Cross-cast in any direction and the numbers are small, e.g. 290, 132, 158 etc.

Had Hunt & Roberts taken the trouble to check Hansard provided the interesting answers in 2004. It shows that 61,356 ‘Contact orders’ were made in 2002 together with some 30,006 ‘Residence orders’. So at worst 61,356 children were affected by divorce and at best over 91,000. [8] And far from a “substantial minority” the numbers involved are in the low hundreds (see Table ).

If only 1 in 10 parents had to go to court to obtain an order why are there, according to Judicial Statistics, over 30 ,000 residence orders and 60,000 contact court orders  ?

The ‘1 in 10’ theory doesn’t work at any of the three levels; at 30,006 – there were not 300,000 divorces that year; at the 61,356 level – there were not 610,000 divorces that year; and at the 91,000 level (30k + 61k) – there were not 910,000 divorces that year.

NB the sources used by Hunt & Roberts were; ONS Population Trends 87; Hill & Tisdall, 1997; Bradshaw et al, 1999; ONS, forthcoming; Judicial Statistics, 2002; Smart et al, 2003; Buchanan et al, 2001.


We have come a long way since the late 1990s when it was de rigueur to claim that “the mere presence of fathers [ in a family ] is not enough” to have measurable beneficial effects, or that:

  • In most marriages … the role of the father is mediated by the mother. At divorce this dynamic is made highly explicit. Once motherhood is removed from the equation the non-custodial father may not have the resources, in terms of knowledge, information or emotional insight, to be able to relate to children on his own terms (Simpson et al, 1995).

Warrens Farrell’s book ‘Father and Child Reunion’ (2001) puts to bed that argument pointing out that fathers can and do care in the conventional sense and that they also care in a different way, ‘setting boundaries’ way than mothers parent.

  • “Nor is even good contact likely to be the most significant factor affecting children’s overall welfare: the care provided by the resident parent and the financial position of that household are the major influences.” (Hunt, 2003).

At the time, circa 2003, it is at the juncture of money and mother residence that the true agenda of Hunt and others was revealed, i.e. ‘good contact’ was what the experts and feminists defined it to be. Father could not be allowed simple contact – it had to be good contact; the quality to be defined by feminists, had to be attained if it was to be allowed to continue.

Good contact also included sufficient monetary payments to the mother (resident parent), who in an assured financial position could relax and do a good job raising ‘her’ children.

There is a suspicion that this “subliminal driver” explains why the majority of women’s rights advocates and researchers fear and therefore denigrate shared parenting. In their misguidedly myopic view it would represent a loss of income for the mother to spend – the reality is not so automatic and probably far from the truth.

If they had not panicked and had given the Australian experiment of 2006 half a chance this could have been satisfactorily proven one way or the other.

Throughout the 2000s this was the conventional wisdom fathers groups and authors like Warrens Farrell faced. It was all the opposition could do to contemplate a marginal increase in contact time (ref.PSA-8, LCD 2002):

  • “Mothers, however, particularly in the case of younger children, sometimes have anxieties about the parenting skills of the father” (Trinder, 2003)”

One rouse the ‘Commissariat’ got up to was to always quote and cite one another’s work therefore making it look like a huge body of knowledge existed against fatherly involvement. Culprits included Bren Neale, Carol Smart, Flowerdew, Hunt, May, Wade, Furniss, etc, (see the DCA’s programme of research).

The fact is, men’s and family’s pressure groups has successfully forced the adoption of the concept of “outcomes” for deciding children’s futures into the political debate and pushed it up the political agenda.

Compare this to the insincere aim of government in 2002 ‘to enable children to benefit from the stability offered by a loving relationship with both their parents, even if they separate.’ In 2002 the (then) Lord Chancellor’s Department made increasing contact, where safe and in the interests of children, one of its ‘Public Service Agreement’ (PSA-8) targets. So skewed, biased and so obviously not up for negotiation was the enterprise that all of the father ‘stakeholder’ groups walked out.

  • NB. This PSA ended in March 2003. It is not known whether similar targets, or the policy objective, will be set by the Department for Education and Skills, to which the former LCD’s responsibilities for children’s policy have now passed. Trinder, Wade, Smart were all part of the vetoing ‘Outcomes & Evaluations’ committee (see Appendix).

As far the anti-shared parenting lobby types are concerned, e.g. Liz Trinder, the Children Act 1989 is a thing of beauty.[9] To paraphrase her, Trinder believes:

  • “ . . .  the Children Act 1989 is a clear simple piece of legislation and that it just focuses on what is going to be right for this child that’s the only consideration for the court and once you start adding in new principles only diminishes the focus for the child and what going to work for that child. Until now we have had our entire focus on what’s best for the children.” – Radio 4, June 2012.

Anyone who has actually read the Children Act 1989 knows this to be howlingly false impression to give and it is anything but simple or a thing of beauty. For a start it deals for 90% of its content with public law cases which have nothing to do with divorce or child custody issues.

Having it both ways

Trinder, and the reactionary Commissariat she  personifies (see Appendix), also believes that only 10% of separated families go to court about contact and that they are all highly conflicted in nature, with multiple problems and where both parents feel unheard.

  • “Finding ways to make contact or shared parenting work for these children is not about giving parents more rights but about helping them fulfil their responsibilities, and finding ways to give children a voice. The beauty of the Children Act 1989 and its unadulterated welfare principle is that it focuses on an individual child and their unique needs, preferences and circumstances. That is a principle we must treasure.” – Trinder, 2012.

The ‘elephant in the room’ and the fatal flaw in the “welfare principle” has always been its “indeterminacy” – it is all things to all men – capable of being vent one way on day and bent quite the opposite the day after. Equally glaring and obvious is that the Children Act fails to ‘give children a voice’ – and never has.

On the one hand, so the argument goes, this is said to ‘confuse’ the child needlessly, and on the other it has led (in the case of Australia), to claims of an allegedly increased focus on father’s rights over children’s best interests, and has allegedly increased the reluctance of mothers to disclose violence and abuse. It is difficult to see quite how those two divergent strands can make sense.

It is almost understandable that in a cockpit where parents feel they have to compete against the other to have any chance of success that wild accusations will be made. Shared parenting eliminates that sense of competition.

In an age where feminist activists wax lyrical about “equality” it would appear they want a monopoly of equality which is to be rationed out only if you are female.

Why can’t fathers enjoy the same amount of liberty, liberation and equality that feminists claim for their sex ? If that means sharing children’s time with them what is unequal about that?

To blunt the allegations by Trinder and others, if not to kill them stone dead, i.e. that an increase in domestic violence is likely, an examination of the report by the AIF ( Australian Institute of Family Studies) is essential. The Australian government was wise enough to anticipate political flak on this topic from the predictable lobbyists and set in motion monitoring regimes.

AIFS’s evaluation of the new shared parenting reforms published in Dec 2009 makes for interesting reading. They found that concerns about ‘personal safety’ (theirs and/or the child’s) were more likely made by mothers whose child never saw the father, i.e. in ‘contact’ arrangements (see also “Shared parenting undone ?”

As discussed in other articles in this series of blog sites, mental health instability and alcohol problems by the one of the parents was often a main problem (“Mental health problems in the Black and Ethnic Minority Communities” and “Why McIntosh’s work should be ignored”). [10]

Where only contact had been the norm, parents (especially mothers) revealed that before separation mental health problems, concerns about the misuse of alcohol and other drugs, and concerns about addictions such as gambling.

Parents with shared care-time arrangements were as likely, or more likely, than parents with other care-time arrangements to believe that their particular parenting arrangements were working well for all 3 parties, the child, mother and father. This was reported by 70–80% of parents who had a shared care-time arrangement.

While most parents with shared care-time arrangements reported friendly or co-operative relationships, they were more inclined to report problematic family dynamics. This can be most likely apportioned to the degree of ‘engagement’ or committment both parents feel.

The consequence was that the AIFS did find, in a few cases of both mothers and fathers that:

  • “ . . . compared with families in which the father had daytime-only care, both mothers and fathers with shared care time arrangements were more likely to report having experienced some form of family violence.”

However, that has to be tempered with the findings that for the most part, pre-separation experiences of violence and perceived issues relating to mental health, the misuse of alcohol and other drugs or specified addictive behaviours were more with on-going ‘contact’ by the other parent, ie NRP. Tellingly, this was most commonly reported “by parents whose child never saw the father or had limited or no time with the mother than by other groups of parents” (page 10).

Obama law

Opponents of shared parenting appear to adopt this line of domestic violence because they believe no system has yet been devised that successfully embraces both normal and fractious families.

This is the narrative that they wants Society to buy into.

The real answer is that there will probably never be just one system that can successfully embraces both types of family. Common sense dictates that you design for the majority and devise exceptions for the minority.

Obama-care, President Obama’s attempt to give all Americans affordable health care has met the sort of ridiculous opposition that has faced shared parenting – typically by vested interests who will lose money or prestige, or both.

In monetary terms everyone knows the existing American health care regime is the world’s most expensive – and it is not even the world best. For years just 5% of Americans have accounted for 50% of America’s health care costs.

Similarly the default child allocation policy in the West has been the most expensive and not even the best.

If, for the sake of argument, it is agreed that in terms of shared parenting we can say that 5% of families are fractious, dysfunctional and or “high conflict.” Is that any reason for not reforming the remaining 95% ?

Could that 5% – as in the case of US health care – also be costing the British taxpayer and government 50% of all court expenditure ?

In shared parenting terms we can say that 5% of families are fractious, dysfunctional and or “high conflict.” Is that any reason for refusing to reform the remaining 95% ?

The answer by Republicans to Obama-care  attempt to bring a balance is to acclaim it as an American right to suffer and die in poverty. Yes, it is perfectly justifiable to let people die (men, women, young and old), for lack of drugs and hospital attention because they have low incomes and can’t afford expensive private medical insurance.

What a dysfunctional society that must be ! !

If for the sake of argument we accept for the moment that only 10% of cases go to court then it follows that if it is patently unfair for 5% then it must be doubly  unfair for 10%. This is especially so when the overarching raison d’être of Children Act is the paramount interests of the child.

How can anyone with a proclaimed interest in children let 90% of them slip through the safety net ?

How can society be so reckless as to look after the interests of only 10% of children ?

If the Children Act is ‘a thing of beauty’, something ‘to be treasured’ why is it looking the other way ?

Addendum: April 2013 – At last, an academic voice has joined this argument and validated the contention that the 10% figure is ‘a nonsense.’ In written evidence to the Children and Families bill committee, Prof. Parkinson (author of Australia shared parenting law reform), poured scorn on the claim in child custody matters that “Only 10% choose to come to court over contact arrangements.”  In written evidence put before parliament he shows why it is wrong and unreliable (

This 10% figure has been cited extensively over the years and by Prof. Liz Trinder (and her inner circle of Jenn McIntosh), Peacey and Hunt (2008) and as far back as Joan Hunt & Ceridwen Roberts (2004).  For a brief review of its importance and impact see also “Parkinson’s cavalry crushes Norgrove’s big guns”

A fitting postscript ! !



PSA-8, April 2002

Lord Chancellor’s Department

Defining the Programme

Policy GroupOutcomes & Evaluations’ 

[This was set to be the “Think-tank” of the programme, to filter all suggestions (veto ?) and contained the following academics on family law policy]: –

  • Name                                          University
  1. Prof. Mervyn Murch              – Oxford          (the only male)
  2. Dr Joan Hunt                           – Oxford
  3. Harriet Bretherton                 – Oxford
  4. Ann Buchanan                         – Oxford
  5. Liz Tinder                                   – Universityof East Anglia
  6. Prof. June Thoburn                – Universityof East Anglia
  7. Claire Furniss                           – Universityof Leeds
  8. Prof. Carol Smart                    – Universityof Leeds
  9. Dr Amanda Wade                   – Universityof Leeds
  10. Bren Neale                                 – Universityof Leeds
  11. Dr Sharon Witherspoon         – Nuffield Foundation

In addition, the LCD will invite colleagues from Home Office Research and the Department of Health Research to attend.

Note the monopoly exercised by 3 universities and the ‘total lock out’ of other universities.

[2] Orphans and children in foster care.

[4] See ‘Millennium Cohort Study First, Second, Third and Fourth Surveys’ (page 50), “18,524 out of 18,815” . ..  “ There were 28 male main respondents, all natural fathers, 18 of whom were lone fathers”. At MCS3 it was 97% ie 14,792 (p 51).

[5] See “Non-Resident Fathers in Britain”, Bradshaw, Stimson, Williams & Skinner (Uni. of York, SPRU). Interim report 1997.

[6]  Reasons given were not only mainly financial but emotional – they wanted to blot out the child’s fathers from their lives.

[8] For figures relating to March 2010, see Hansard 24 May 2012 : Column 146WH.

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