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Why reducing parental conflict matters for the NHS


21 Mar 2018


This EIF sector briefing sets out how NHS and health-related commissioners and workforces can understand and address the risks to children associated with long-term, intense and poorly resolved conflict between parents.

Sector briefing



Defining the problem

  • Conflict between parents can harm children’s outcomes.
  • Some families are more vulnerable to parental conflict.
  • Parental conflict reduces the effectiveness of family services.

Reducing parental conflict is everyone’s business

Any clinician, practitioner or volunteer working with children, young people and families can have an impact on reducing parental conflict.

The briefing provides specific guidance for primary care teams, midwifery, health visitors and mental health practitioners.

Take action now

Local NHS leaders and commissioners have a key role in reducing the impact of parental conflict on children by integrating this within the wider system of family support for health and wellbeing, working with their partners in local government, schools, the police and the voluntary sector.

This should include recognising parental conflict within wider service review, aligning and pooling resources with their partners, investing in specialist interventions for reducing parental conflict, and building workforce confidence and capability to identify and act on conflict between parents.

About the contributor

Ben Lewing

Ben is assistant director, policy & practice, at EIF.