Relationship Separation and Help-seeking: Reporting on an Agency Study

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Relationship separation affects many Australians with around 20,000 divorces involving children formalised per year. For profit, government and nongovernment organisations all offer services for separated couples and families. Despite promotion of specialist services such as mediation and child-centred services, which seek to assist families to navigate what is a complex interaction between public and legislative structures, there is little known about the potentially broader array of supports and information people use following separation. Better understanding of help-seeking behaviours for separating couples enables more effective targeted policy and service delivery. Individuals with children accessing a nongovernment-funded program for support during separation (n = 134) were asked to complete a survey that was designed to track their help-seeking behaviour. We found that help-seeking for legal services was more common than seeking help for self-care, but that both were important for many people in the sample. Friendship networks, and medical and health professionals were the most common sources of information and support. We argue that social work has a role in promoting and supporting parents who are separating to access a broader range of informal support networks and professional services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2019


  • Divorce
  • Parenting
  • Separation
  • Help-seeking


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