We welcomed over 250 people to an online launch of our new research. Featuring comment from the Second Sea Lord, representatives from the Ministry of Defence as well as the authors of the report and our trustees, you can now watch the full session below.
3 key takeaways from the launch
From 2009 to 2021: What’s changed?
Second Sea Lord, Admiral Nick Hines CBE detailed the findings and successes of the ‘Overlooked Casualties of Conflict‘ before setting up the new suggestions found in the updated report. He particularly focussed on the increased use of social media by Naval families and the change in tempo of UK military operations, that made a new report so urgent.
“The landscape 11 years ago, was of course different,” said Admiral Hines.
“It was entirely appropriate that the Naval Children’s Charity would commission some new research that would explore what has changed over the intervening 11-year period.”
Deployment remains an issue
Dr Lauren Godier-McBard, the principal author of the report explained that the 10 key conclusions of the 2009 research remained stressors for modern military families, while also detailing the differences in today’s climate.
For example, deployment remains one of the most difficult challenges for military families. While there are fewer active operations than in 2009, there are still lengthy periods where families remain separated, causing disruption to family life.
“It’s the disruptive and unpredictable nature of deployment in particular that may lead to emotional and psychological difficulties for children,” says Dr Godier-McBard.
This can result in poor performance in school, and periods of heightened anxiety or worry for children.
The issue of dispersed military families was also highlighted. So as not to disrupt the family’s living situation, many serving personnel are now ‘weekending’, living away from their family during the week, before returning home for the weekend.
While the evidence suggests that this benefits children in some ways – not having to relocate allows the family to make roots, and minimise disruption – it can also result in poor mental health and can leave families isolated from support.
Where is the evidence lacking?
Dr Godier-McBard broke down the areas in which the current literature is lacking.
The impact of military life on single parent households, children with SEND and young carers is lacking. Indeed, data on the number of military children in the UK remains lacking, and needs urgent address.
Perhaps most shockingly, the voices of military children in research is going unheard. Over half of the papers reviewed in the study did not directly ask children about the stresses in their own lives.
“Future research should look to focus on the voices and viewpoints of service children themselves. This is really crucial,” says Dr. Godier-McBard.