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By Bradshaw, Skinners, Smitson

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However, there is still reason to be cautious about the representativeness of the sample in this study. As we have seen, there has been a mood of vilification of non-resident fathers in Britain in recent years. This has coincided with the Child Support Agency seeking to identify men liable to pay child support. As we shall see, there is also a great sadness and sense of loss among these men. All these may be reasons to expect many men not to identify themselves in the screening survey. It is difficult to establish the prevalence of non-resident fathers, but it is probable that less than half of the non-resident fathers in the omnibus survey acknowledged the fact.

Only 5 per cent of the fathers in the sample were non-white and almost all of these were black. Although it is difficult to be certain from such a small subsample, it is probable from our results and studies of lone mothers, that non-resident fathers are more likely to be black Caribbean and less likely to be Asian than resident fathers. The subject of employment is dealt with in detail in Chapter 4, but it is clear from the comparisons in this table that non-resident fathers are less likely than resident fathers to be in social class 1 and more likely to be in social class 5.

There were two tutors I talked to…. We had a law department and I saw a gentleman there who told me the best way of doing things—but that was several months after. I never thought it would come to that. The following October I was divorced and I didn’t even know. In November I got a letter that said there was going to be a case to sort out access to the children and I went down there, and the law department had assured me Characteristics of non-resident fathers 35 that this would be sorted out before any divorce and when I went down I had been divorced for a month and didn’t know.

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