- Women Veterans’ Strategy to be developed by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA)
- The strategy will look at the specific needs and challenges faced by women veterans, and celebrate their successes
- Areas set to be considered in the upcoming strategy include mental health support, physical welfare and employment
Challenges faced by women who leave the services are to be considered as part of the UK Government’s first Women Veterans’ Strategy, which is due to be launched later this year by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs.
Through the strategy, the Government will tackle areas where women veterans might be missing out on support, as well as any accessibility issues, within the wide variety of services already being delivered for the veteran community.
There are more than 235,000 women in England and Wales who have proudly served in our Armed Forces. However, women veterans have been reported to face issues accessing support services, particularly where those services are inadvertently orientated towards men.
Looking at the particular needs and challenges faced by women veterans compared to their male counterparts, the OVA will identify what further support may be given to women veterans to meet their specific needs. Working with experts in academia, charities and other government departments, this will cover areas such as mental health, physical welfare and employment.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer said:
“Making this country the best place in the world to be a veteran shouldn’t just be something we say, but something we do.
“In order to deliver this ambition, it’s vital that we listen to women veterans, celebrate their successes, and deliver the support they need. That’s what the new Women Veterans’ Strategy will do.”
The OVA plans to publish the Women Veterans’ Strategy later this year.
In developing the strategy the OVA will outline what support is already being delivered across the UK and what more may need to be done, both by the Government and across wider support services.
To support the strategy, the OVA has commissioned research into the accessibility of services available to women veterans and the experiences of women in interacting with existing support. The research is due to report back this summer, with recommendations being used in the development of the strategy.
The launch of the Women Veteran’s Strategy comes after the OVA and the Ministry of Defence launched a wider review of veterans’ welfare services, which is designed to examine their effectiveness and efficiency, answering the calls of relevant stakeholders.
The OVA is already engaged, through the recently announced Veterans Health Innovation Fund, with a number of projects looking to understand the specific needs of women veterans. This includes Northumbria University’s work to assess the impacts of military service on women veterans, and with the University of Exeter and IonaMind who will develop AI supported interventions to treat depression and anxiety in women veterans.
The strategy will also be an opportunity to celebrate the successes of women veterans and the valuable contributions they make to their communities, and to wider society and the economy.
The work is all part of the Government’s commitment to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran.