By Brian Hudson – revised edition 26th November 2020 - Twitter @brianhudson3333

Those involved in Parental Rights campaigning have long highlighted the effect that aspects of family law and associated governmental agencies add to the difficulties faced by divorcing parents.  The Child Maintenance Service, is one such government agency. It is frequently accused of behaviours which lead to a sense of powerlessness among non-resident and therefore paying parents.  One impact is heightened levels of suicide, condemning dependent children to a lifetime without one parent, together with the associated trauma, stigma and guilt that can lead to suffering their own significant mental health issues, perhaps even suicide, later in life.   Attempts to right institutionalized problems are routinely met with a response stating “there is no evidence to back up such claims”.

Previous versions of this report identified excess deaths in the CMS paying parent population of almost 500 per year, but no excess deaths in the receiving parent population.  Those findings led me to make a further freedom of information request, asking the CMS to provide

  1. The total number of parental deaths from within the paying parent population of CMS only

  2. The total number of those deaths where the deceased were in arrears at the time their death was recorded

  3. The total amount of arrears in all cases resulting in the death of a parent during the time period (September 2017 to June 2020).

The CMS response[1] arrived on 26th November, with the relevant part pasted into this document below,

follow the citation to read the full document.


DWP Response on Mortality.JPG

The first thing to note, is that the figure of 4,390 is a substantial increase (34%) to the previous figure for parental mortality provided in the CMS disclosure that led to my original report, where they stated 3,270 deaths, a difference of 1,120 deaths suggests a gross understatement of mortality in the original disclosure, so one has to hope they will not find any more!

It is here, in updating my calculations from my previous report, with the further disclosure from CMS, that things get far worse than I could have even brought myself to imagine.  CMS have moved forward the date range for data they have disclosed from January 2017 – September 2019 to September 2017 - June 2020 (both ranges however are 33 months in total).  Of the 4,390 paying parents who died, 2,860 were in arrears as of the end of the month before their death (65.14% of the total deaths).  CMS do not publish data as to how many cases are in arrears, although I have asked them for this figure as an average during the stated timeframe.  While I await that further information, I will base calculations on the following assumptions using CMS data as at March 2020 (which leaves a comfortable margin for error given the ever-increasing case load)

  • Parents paying by Direct Pay (private arrangement between parents) are not recorded as being in arrears because CMS do not monitor those payments – this population accounts for 285,500 parents who would not be recorded as being in arrears.

  • Parents paying by Collect & Pay (enforced payment by CMS taking straight from bank account or as a deduction from earnings at source) amount to 148,200 parents, of which 48,000 are recorded as having not paid and therefore being in arrears.

  • In addition to the above, in March 2020 a further 9,000 cases were leaving Direct Pay and going into Collect & Pay, with 3,300 moving in the opposite direction (presumably no longer in arrears) so I will add 5,700 to 48,000 to give a total of 53,700 cases being in arrears as the total sub population of paying parents. 

But let’s now split this out, into cases with arrears at time of death and those without.  The 53,700 cases calculated above, represent only 12.3% of the total paying parent population of 435,900 as of March 2020.  We can attribute the much higher death toll of 2,860 to the ‘in arrears’ sub population of paying parents, while we can also attribute much lower death toll of 1,530 deaths to the ‘not in arrears’ sub population of paying parents totalling 382,200 – already we can see there is a significant problem here.

The table below, therefore, illustrates the staggering difference between the death rates for these two sub populations:


The ONS figures for expected death rate[1] are shown in the graph below, averaging at about 140 per 100k (being generous).


CMS Mortality Table.PNG

The ONS figures for expected death rate[1] are shown in the graph to the left, averaging at about 140 per 100k (being generous).



CMS have long denied that their practices are in anyway linked to parental suicide, but with this stark difference between deaths among the paying parent population who are in arrears, versus those not in arrears, those excess deaths cannot realistically be attributable to anything other than suicide, and total 2,653 over 33 months, leaving almost 6,000 children experiencing the trauma of premature parental loss.  These excess deaths represent an all cause mortality rate 14 times the expected level, and a suicide rate 173 times the expected level. It is my conclusion therefore, that this data proves CMS culpability for those excess deaths, and there must be an immediate public inquiry into their practices, coupled with an immediate freezing of all collection activity for any CMS accounts providing evidence that they are unable to pay.  These figures amount to state sponsored genocide of 10’s of thousands of parents since the creation of the CMS and its predecessor the CSA.  Government have been repeatedly told that CMS practices are driving desperate parents, who are very often living in poverty, to suicide.  But not only have the voices of those protesting to government and the CMS been ignored, they have not even attempted to review their own data in order to identify the problem, or they have done but are actively covering it up in the continued pursuit of profit motivated genocide, in my view the latter is more likely.


The processes of divorce disadvantages’ the father, indeed the most recent ONS figures reveal 86.2% of single parent families are headed by a mother[1], and elevated levels of suicide is a consequence (Kposowa, 2003. Divorce and suicide risk. J Epidemiol Community Health 2003;57:993–995 [2]).  I present the thesis that some or all of the higher number of deaths for parents falling within the paying parent’s group, of 2,653 in 33-month period studied, reflects an extraordinary level of suicide.  This rate is equivalent to 1,937 per 100,000 of the CMS population, whereas the ONS figures for suicide for the whole population are stated as 11.2 per 100,000.  The rate of apparent suicide in this CMS sub population of paying parents, is 173 x greater than the population in general.  If we were to extrapolate this rate of suicide to the whole population, we would have over 1.125m suicides per year, more than 20 x the UK fatalities reported for the Covid-19 Pandemic which has shut down the entire world.  This increase is consistent with the conclusions based on an analysis of the US National Longitudinal Mortality Study (Kposowa, 2003).  The impact on children is especially harrowing.  With 2.2 children on average per couple, almost 6,000 children whose families were subject of an open case with the Child Maintenance Service in the time period under investigation, will have had to contend with the impact of parental suicide.  Source mortality data [3] (see tab M-F Mortality Rate Compare).

The economic cost of a suicide is estimated to be £1.7m [4], the total economic cost therefore of 2,653 suicides is more than £4.5bn, with the total maintenance overseen by CMS in the same time period only coming to £2.8bn, 40% less than the total economic cost of the suicides. The total value of the arrears from all parents who died was £9.7m, which equates to £3,656 each, not even enough to pay for their funerals.

Please take a moment to absorb some of the key figures here graphically represented below:




CMS Suicide in Charts.JPG

A recent example of one of these suicide casualties is Gavin Briggs ( who took his own life in July 2020, after made up CMS arrears were being pursued by their debt collectors, who were refusing to look at his evidence and reconsider the charges. RIP Gavin. For a downloadable printable version of this report, click here.