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New charity created for separated and divorced women

Maypole Women established to offer support and a voice for women

A new charity has been established offering support to women before, during and after separation and divorce.

Maypole Women will also offer a voice to women, widening the debate on safe and fair resolutions to sharing child care and custody disputes.

Co-founder Rosalind Moffitt said:

'The majority of mothers want their child to have a meaningful relationship with the father, but sharing care after separation can have practical and sometimes safety implications. The BBC Two programme Who Needs Fathers? last month was typical of much reporting on this subject, and we were very disappointed that it failed to explore the reasons why contact doesn't always work.

'These include: the numerous impracticalities of children constantly moving from house to house; the loss of identity experienced by women who have been the primary carer, particularly when the alternative is work of an inferior status to that gained before motherhood; the potential loss of child related benefits that can accompany shared care, which can be catastrophic for women whose earning capacity has been damaged by caring responsibilities; the emotional angst when fathers fail to turn up for contact visits, or abdicate caring responsibilities to others who have no psychological connection to the child; and the fact that domestic violence abuse is high amongst separating parents, yet women's genuine concerns are often dismissed as malicious, so that contact becomes the vehicle for continued abuse.'

Co-founder Jennifer Heathcote-Osborne said:

'We have already had lots of very positive responses from women, who say the information on our web site explains what they are going through exactly. We hope by offering support and raising awareness that we can reduce the stress of separation, and the many challenges affecting children and their parents can always be addressed appropriately in the future.'

The web site can be viewed at