Efforts being stepped up to strengthen marriages
Since March 2019, more than 200 people have been trained to provide basic marriage support to couples, as part of efforts to strengthen marriages.
Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling yesterday said 215 community leaders, religious leaders and marriage solemnisers had been trained as Marital First Responders who can step in early before matters take a turn for the worse.
More such responders will continue to be trained, she said, adding that the Government will continue to work with social service agencies and community organisations to offer more marriage enrichment programmes for couples to strengthen their relationships.
She was responding to Mr Melvin Yong (Radin Mas) on a study about the intergenerational effects of divorce on children in Singapore that the Ministry of Social and Family Development released last month.
Mr Yong had asked if there were significant differences in the outcomes for children based on the age of the child when the parents got divorced.
Ms Sun said it is important in divorce cases to focus more efforts on early childhood intervention, not only to mitigate the potential negative effects but also to enhance the positive development of the child.
Ms Carrie Tan (Nee Soon GRC) asked about the ministry's intention and motivation in publishing the study's results "in a manner that unfortunately I think creates the unintended further stigmatising of divorcees... or maybe potentially guilt-tripping them, and also the unfortunate labelling of children from divorced families".
"This makes it harder for couples who are already considering divorce due to very difficult circumstances in their marriage, because then they worry about these outcomes which they already worry about and it doesn't help them in their consideration process," she said.
In response, Ms Sun said: "There are important observations that can be made from this data, and we wanted to share it with practitioners, with families, so that they understand what the data presents."
In some instances, divorce may well be the best way out for a married couple, she noted.