Tuesday, 13 September, 2022.
New guidelines for one-parent families and public bodies have been launched today by Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), Sinéad Gibney. The guidelines were developed by One Family – Ireland’s national organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating and are based on the voices and experiences of rights holders who participated in the research.
Speaking at the launch, IHREC Chief Commissioner, Sinéad Gibney said, “The guidelines launched today will give parents guidance on their rights and importantly, will give public sector organisations a framework for protecting the human rights of one-parent families. Public sector organisations have an obligation to abide by the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty and ensure discrimination, if it does occur, is addressed promptly and transparently. One parent families deserve to be treated with respect and equality. These guidelines give parents a clear roadmap to address their concerns if they feel they have been discriminated against.”
Niamh Kelly, One Family, Policy Manager said, “Listening to the experiences of people parenting alone has shown that while there is some good practice in providing services to one-parent families in public bodies, some public sector organisations are falling short of fulfilling their commitment to the Public Sector Duty and discrimination against one-parent families does unfortunately still occur. Parents told us they want to be treated with the respect and dignity their family deserves, they want equality for their family and an understanding by those working in public bodies of the unique challenges facing one-parent families. Our aim with the Human Rights, Equality and One-Parent Family guidelines is to bridge the gap in parents’ knowledge of their rights and protections under legislation and in public bodies’ understanding of the realities for people in one-parent families and help them fulfil their obligations under the Public Sector Duty.”
Quotes from parents participating in the research:
“My Department of Social Protection Case Officer was professional, kind and insightful…she recognised and acknowledged my previous skills, training and education.”
“When I split up with my child’s Dad, I had to get on to Revenue….and there was just somebody on the phone, and they were just really human. Just like “Oh, well, I hope you’re okay now”, you know… it was just a really human interaction.”
“I was pregnant, I had nowhere to live, I was a nervous wreck. And I went into the services for support, and a man just looked at me with such contempt and he said, “You’re not going to get yourself a house now, just because you’ve gotten yourself into a stupid situation.”
“The woman I was speaking to and was referred to said to me it is my own fault, that if I didn’t have my child, I could have a career. That was it. I left the meeting, and I complained.”
One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s national organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting or separating, offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services.
Link to guidelines:
More information on the Public Sector Human Rights and Equality Duty:
These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 0818 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie. The askonefamily helpline can be contacted on 0818 66 22 12 or 01-6629212
For further information visit: www.onefamily.ie
Available for Interview
Niamh Kelly, Policy Manager | t: 01-6629212
Noel Sweeney, Communications and Events Manager | t: 085 7241294