The YouGov survey (1) which was issued as part of the charity’s report The Nation’s Duty found that almost half (46%) of female veterans in the UK felt that the support for male veterans is better than for female veterans. Almost as many (43%) reported feeling on their own with no one looking out for them after they hung up their uniform.
This research is reflected in the increased number of women coming forward asking to be matched with a SSAFA mentor. Currently, female mentees make up 22% of the service, which is disproportionate to the male and female split of the Armed Forces. (2)
The SSAFA mentoring service provides one-to-one support for service leavers and their families during the pivotal transition back to civilian life. SSAFA mentors help with practical and emotional support, assisting with decision making, supporting career decisions and offering independent and confidential advice.
When questioned about their experiences, over a third of former servicewomen (35%) said they weren’t fully prepared for civilian life. Further to this, 38% of female veterans said they did not plan their post-military career before they left the Armed Forces.
Although many service leavers thrive in civilian life, if a veteran is struggling and the issues are not addressed early enough, they can escalate to a stage where more drastic intervention may be necessary.
These veterans may later re-emerge needing the charity’s support. SSAFA mentoring service looks to address whether this could be avoided by providing early preventative support.
Gary Williams, Head of SSAFA’s Mentoring Service, said:
“Whilst it’s concerning that female veterans don’t feel they are getting the right support, it is reassuring that we continue to see a rise in former servicewomen approaching SSAFA to be paired with a mentor.
“Currently, female serving personnel make up just under 10% of the Armed Forces, but with close combat roles being opened to women recruits, it’s possible we will see a further increase in the demand for our service.
“All servicewomen, female veterans and female spouses are eligible for our support services including SSAFA mentoring and we would encourage anyone facing difficult times to get in touch.”
To find out more about SSAFA Mentoring, visit ssafa.org.uk/mentoring.
Notes to Editor:
(1) YouGov survey was based on the responses of a panel of 251 veterans, aged 18-45, answering an online questionnaire.
(2) Female serving personnel currently make up 10% of the Armed Forces.
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Last year our staff and team of volunteers help more than 73,000 people, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts.
For more information visit www.ssafa.org.uk. Find SSAFA on Twitter (@SSAFA), Facebook (@SSAFAOfficial) and Instagram (@ssafa_armedforcescharity)