The ADF Families Survey is a joint initiative of Defence Community Organisation and Defence Families of Australia.
Overall, 4649 Defence members and their families took part in the survey, representing around 14 per cent and an increase of more than 1000 from the previous survey.
Of those who responded, around two-thirds were partners of ADF members, while the remaining were dual ADF couples, single parent ADF members or ADF members with recognised dependants other than partners or children. Around five per cent were the parents of ADF members.
Around two-thirds of partners and single parent ADF members are proud to tell others that they are part of an ADF family and around two out of five feel that their family has a strong sense of belonging to the ADF.
When it comes to postings, only 19 per cent of partners and 34 per cent of single parent ADF members and dual serving ADF couples feel the ADF considers family circumstances in postings.
Around 14 per cent of civilian partners of ADF members report that they are unemployed (compared to 17 per cent in 2011). The underemployment rate, where partners are part-time or casual and would like to work more hours, is around 12 per cent. Around three-quarters of partners said that they had made employment or career sacrifices because of their partner’s ADF career.
Only six per cent of respondents said they couldn’t access the childcare services they needed. Affordability is the main barrier to accessing childcare, but some other common issues include difficulty finding available childcare places and inconvenient operating hours.
Just over half of parents of ADF members responding to the survey said that they know how to find information about the ADF operations in which their child was involved. However, around two-thirds said that they know how to contact their child while they were deployed.
Defence will use the results to ensure current programs and services meet the needs of ADF members and their families.
Download: 2017 ADF Families Survey infographic
Download: 2017 ADF Families Survey Report
The 2015 ADF Families Survey, focusing on absences and relocations, was administered by Defence in collaboration with Defence Families of Australia (DFA). The research program aims to provide Defence insight into the impact of ADF conditions of service on family members’ satisfaction with service life. It also measures family members’ satisfaction with family support services so that Defence can identify areas for targeted improvement.