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Defence Member and Family Support

For ADF members and their families

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ADF Families Survey

ADF families survey

2022 ADF Families Survey

Families play a critical role in the wellbeing of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, and often make sacrifices to support Defence service. The ADF Families Survey is the primary Australian survey capturing information about experiences of service life directly from families of Defence personnel. The survey has been run five times since 2009.

The survey provides 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. Results from the 2019 ADF Families Survey showed that ADF families were less satisfied than the average Australian across multiple wellbeing domains. This information prompted development of the Defence Family Research Program, which provides an evidence base for continued support improvement through Family Support Program Modernisation.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) have been commissioned to help run the survey in 2022. Similar to previous surveys, the 2022 survey will collect information on family circumstances and experiences of service life, and support and service needs. This year there will also be a specific focus on measuring family member well-being and understanding the impact of COVID-19 on ADF Families.

In 2022, the ADF Families Survey will be open from 30 May to 10 July 2022. You are invited to complete the survey, if

  • Your partner is a permanent ADF member or reserve ADF member on continuous full-time service, or
  • You are an ADF member who is part of a dual serving couple, a single parent, or carer of other dependants.

This research has been reviewed by the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs Human Research Ethics Committee (Protocol No 425-22).

For more information, contact the research team at Australian Institute of Family Studies (adffs@aifs.gov.au) or Defence (DPI.Research@defence.gov.au).

2019 ADF Families Survey

The survey is a joint initiative of Defence and Defence Families of Australia and aims to provide 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.

In 2019, 3652 members of ADF families completed the survey. The findings show that of those who participated, the most important considerations for Defence families were housing quality and location, the employment of the civilian partner, and financial stability. For families with dependent children, education was the most important consideration.

Other key findings:

  • Of those who responded, 65 per cent were civilian partners, while the remaining were dual ADF couples, single parent ADF members or ADF members with recognised dependants other than partners or children. Around 75 per cent of those were parents of ADF members and six per cent were other family members.

  • Around 72 per cent of civilian partners of ADF members who participated report that they are employed—a slight increase on 2017 results, with 58 per cent of partners reporting that it was difficult to re-establish their own employment following relocation.

  • Between 2015 and 2019, 78 per cent of respondents relocated at least once. Feedback showed that they found it relatively easy to re-establish such things as medical and dental services, but had more difficulty with specific services such as special needs support and childcare.

  • Around 34 per cent of partners were members with dependants (unaccompanied) or MWD(U) at some stage between 2015 and 2019. Respondents noted that maintaining stability in children’s schooling and their ability to retain friends and activities were positive outcomes.

Defence will use the results to review support programs and services to ensure they meet the needs of ADF members and their families.

Download: 2019 ADF Families Survey infographic

Download: 2019 ADF Families Survey Report

2017 ADF Families Survey results

The 2017 ADF Families Survey focused on families and postings, partner employment and under-employment, pride and belonging, and childcare access.

Download: 2017 ADF Families Survey infographic

Download: 2017 ADF Families Survey Report

2015 ADF Families Survey

The 2015 ADF Families Survey focused on absences and relocations.