The Race Equality Foundation, with the support of the Association of Mental Health Providers and Men’s Health Forum were commissioned to develop a learning resource and toolkit for public health nurses (including health visitors, school nurses, general practice nurses and midwives) and other professionals working with families in the first 1001 days of a child’s life and beyond, to reduce health inequalities and improve health and wellbeing for children, through reducing harmful non violent parental conflict.

The project was funded by Public Health England through VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance

A call for evidence requested information from those with lived experience of this harmful type of conflict:

  • As adults or as professionals working with them, 
  • As children with co-parents experiencing this type of conflict, 
  • Adult and child experiences of accessing support or the barriers to accessing support
  • Details of any needs not being met. 

We also asked for evidence of strategies or interventions which have been put into practice to offer support and advice, with or without success

Through evidence gathering (including that available through collaboration with the DWP in their Reducing Parental Conflict programme), we were able to identify:

  • Key stakeholders
  • Gaps in the evidence
  • Better or promising practice
  • Challenges to engaging with parents form different communities
  • Barriers for parents and children in accessing services 
  • Resources presently available

We also met with public health nurses, nursing governing bodies and educators, third sector organisations, other professionals working with families, parents and young people in a total of 16 meetings and this process informed and allowed us to develop the key topic areas which now make up the toolkit; it also allowed us to analyse the best format for learning for busy practitioners with limited time, to engage with co-parents in a productive way to achieve the reduction in harmful conflict.

The aim of this toolkit is to:

  • Add to the conversation on the topic of harmful non violent parental conflict, so that discussions between co-parents and practitioners are normalised, creating an environment of trust and understanding, so that parents receive support as early as possible.
  • For professionals and parents to understand what harmful conflict is and why it happens
  • For professionals and parents to understand how harmful conflict impacts children’s short and long term wellbeing depending on gender, age, understanding and perception
  • For professionals to understand the role of ethnicity and culture in relation to relationship conflict, communication, access to and engagement with services
  • To give professionals a toolkit of resources to be able to identify signs and examples of harmful conflict and provide the support, resources and further signposting parents and young people might need to improve childhood outcomes by improving parental relationship satisfaction and communication
  • To disseminate this information as widely as possible


In relation to this project we extend our thanks to the following for their contributions:

  • Public Health England
  • The Department for Work and Pensions
  • OnePlusOne
  • Tavistock Relationships
  • The Institute of Health Visiting
  • The Queen’s Nursing Institute
  • Nursing educators from the Universities of Hertfordshire and Suffolk
  • School nurses from Doncaster, Rotherham and Humber
  • Health Visitors from Greater London and Cambridgeshire
  • Family Justice Young People’s Board
  • Cafcass
  • Future Men
  • Dads Unlimited
  • The Salford Young Fathers Project
  • One Voice 4 Travellers
  • School Educational Welfare Officer
  • Parents who have completed the Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities Parent Programme