Forces Family Moments: Survey Says More Than Half Miss Out

Fifty-six per cent of respondents said they had missed "major moments" in their children's lives.

Nearly half of respondents said they felt pressured to make the most of family time (Picture: Crown Copyright).

More than half of military families say they have been apart for once-in-a-lifetime moments like the birth of a child, according to a new survey.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents said they had missed "major moments" in their children's lives, including first words, first steps, the first day at school and the birth of a child.

The study, conducted by Armed Forces charity SSAFA surveyed past and current members of the military community on the impact service has on families.

The survey also found more than a third of forces families have been separated for at least ten months due to their work, with 81% of civilians surveyed not aware military personnel.

In July, a Ministry of Defence survey of families revealed 50% of respondents felt ‘disadvantaged about family life’.

Seventy-two per cent of respondents to the SSAFA survey from military families said they had not been together for events such as birthdays, weddings, funerals and anniversaries.

Training exercise
The survey says the majority of civilians surveyed did not know personnel could be away for ten months or more (Picture MoD).

Meanwhile, two-thirds of military families aged 16-24 years-old said they have delayed a major life event, compared to 10% of those aged 55 and older.

Justine Baynes, director at the charity behind the survey, said: "Being away from home and your loved ones for any period can be difficult - but imagine doing it for months at a time with limited communication.

"Whilst it is accepted to be a part of the job at hand, it’s important that we remember that missing birthdays, school plays and those special moments that create memories can take a toll."