Urgent action needed to tackle rising divorce rates

I was alarmed and dismayed to read last Thursday's report ("2015 marital break-ups 3rd highest on record").

The family is the basic building block of society. When families start to break down, society will follow suit.

One broken family is one too many, especially if there are children involved.

We need to look past figures to truly appreciate the trauma, destruction and misery a divorce brings.

So I hope that the Ministry of Social and Family Development will regard these statistics as an urgent call to action.

I am glad that the ministry is implementing a mandatory parenting programme for divorcing couples with young children.

However, why not place more emphasis on premarital counselling?

Perhaps a generous grant can be given if couples volunteer to go through this programme before registering for marriage.

Also, why not involve other ministries in the fight to preserve families?

For instance, the Media Development Authority can be roped in to sponsor or produce films on the impact of divorce on couples and children. These can be based on real-life accounts.

More support can be given to non-governmental organisations that promote healthy families, such as the Dads For Life movement.

We, as Singaporeans, and our Government need to address this issue with greater urgency, proactivity and creativity, and preserve the sanctity of our families.

Zee Kok Eng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2016, with the headline 'Urgent action needed to tackle rising divorce rates'. Print Edition | Subscribe