Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Saturday, 18 March, 2000, 16:29 GMT
Divorce in armed forces 'rising'
kosovo
Stressful operations can take their toll on relationships
The divorce rate in the armed forces is now double that of couples in civilian life, according to research by a political party.

The rate has risen dramatically in the last 10 years, said Lib Dem defence spokesman Paul Keetch.

Forces families' groups say pressures of the job and overseas operations are to blame.

But according to the Ministry of Defence, there are no official divorce figures for the armed forces.

kiss
Couples can be apart for months at a time
A spokeswoman said the MoD accepted there was a higher divorce rate among staff than in the general population but said this was due to the high proportion of young people in the forces.

"Research by bodies such as [marriage guidance counsellors] Relate shows that people under 30 are more likely to divorce than older couples," the spokeswoman told BBC News Online.

However she admitted that the strain of long periods of separation and a stressful job did take its toll on relationships.

Navy worst hit

At the Liberal Democrat conference in Plymouth Mr Keetch released figures detailing a rise in the army divorce rate from 1.8% 10 years ago to 2%.

Over the same period divorce in the Royal Navy increased from 3.7% to 3.8% and in the RAF from 2.9% to 3.4%.

Meanwhile figures for the civilian population show a falling rate from 1.25% to 1.07%.

Mr Keetch said overall armed forces marriages were twice as likely to break down as civilian marriages.

He said: "If we continue to underestimate the strain that service life places on the armed forces and their families, the current low morale and haemorrhaging of trained personnel will only get worse.

"Our armed forces deserve better."

The spokeswoman for the MoD said couples could turn to army support services for help.

"It is something we take very seriously and are looking to improve," she added.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

16 Jan 00 | Talking Point
Is the traditional family dead?
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories