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Relationship support services bring many benefits

A new independent report has found that relationship support services deliver financial and emotional benefits to both individuals and society in general.

Specifically, the Department for Education-commissioned report found that Relate’s couple counselling and Marriage Care’s marriage preparation services deliver £11.40 and £11.50 of benefit respectively for every £1 spent. This is calculated by looking at what costs are saved by reducing the likelihood of relationship breakdown.

The Department of Education commissioned the independent evaluation as part of the Prime Minister’s commitment to relationship support. Relationship breakdown is estimated to cost the UK economy £46 billion each year, with often devastating and long-lasting emotional effects for individuals and families.

The report looked at services offered at different stages of a couple’s relationship: marriage preparation, short relationship education classes and couple counselling. All services were found to be associated with positive impacts, with marriage preparation and couple counselling in particular leading to positive changes in wellbeing and relationship quality.

The report also found that people who used relationship support services were more likely to access support in the future. However the authors identified the need for improved signposting to these services so that more people can benefit throughout the course of their relationships.

They also call for a clear strategy for relationship support which encourages central and local government and local public health departments to take account of the importance of adult couple relationships and their impact on health and wellbeing.

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