Living in our shoes: understanding the needs of UK Armed Forces families

living in our shoes report

A review, commissioned by the Ministry of Defence, into the concerns raised by armed forces families has been published along with recommendations for change.

Why the review was conducted

Serving in the UK Armed Forces demands discipline, professionalism, bravery, personal sacrifice and a commitment to serving the nation. Family stability is essential to the ability of serving personnel to do their duty effectively, yet the contribution and sacrifice their spouses/partners and children make are not always understood or valued.

RAF FF Director, Maria Lyle comments:

“It’s a really welcome report and we are looking forward to championing some of the recommendations that we have fought for in recent years.”

Report findings

This review illustrates the impacts of repeated relocations on children’s education and partners’ employment, long periods of family separation while serving personnel are on deployment, disruptions in healthcare and the many challenges UK Armed Forces families cope with every day. These can include social isolation, loneliness and mental health issues.

The review, undertaken in 2019, challenges some long-held military traditions and makes recommendations for change which would improve the support for UK Armed Forces families and ensure greater recognition for the sacrifices they make to keep the nation safe.

The Armed Forces Covenant

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation to treat armed forces personnel and their families with fairness and respect, and to make sure that they face no disadvantage compared to other citizens. The Covenant and the Families Strategy should be strengthened to promote resilient, empowered, thriving service families who are treated fairly and have increased choice in the communities in which they live, and who are valued by the nation.

Living in our shoes report

The full report includes a number of case studies of support for military families, and describes what it is like to live in their shoes. It provides detailed evidence for the recommendations from the review.

Living in our shoes report summary

The Summary Report highlights the main themes and lists the recommendations for change.

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