Families Of Veterans Guild

The direct impact of our Advocacy Program

This article shows how our Advocacy work over the last few years has helped Veteran Families, including war widows. 

Since 2021, we have advocated on 65 issues for the benefit of veterans families, including war widows. There has been positive progress against 14 of these issues with 9 being achieved and 5 being partially achieved.  

Of the 65 issues the Guild has in more recent years been advocating on 64% seek to provide a benefit to veteran families. Of this, 19% seek to provide an auxiliary benefit to veterans. 15% of the issues the Guild has advocated on seek to provide a benefit to the veteran community sector.  

In taking a closer look at the veteran family group, 33% of the issues advocated on seek to provide a direct benefit to war widows and their children only. Of this subgroup, 43% of the issues have been successfully advocated for, translating into real outcomes for war widows and their children, these outcomes include:  

  • Enhanced access to mental health treatment for children between 15-24 years bereaved by the death of their veteran parent.  
  • Reduced cost of living through the availability of concessions to widows.  
  • Social connection provided through days of recognition such as war widows day; and  
  • Reduced barriers to entitlements (and protection of existing entitlements) for widows bereaved by the death of a veteran in service or related to service. 

Our advocacy plan and priorities 

Our 2023-2024 Advocacy plan outlined three priority areas of work. These priorities sough to provide structure to the advocacy work for the coming year and were developed based of the consultations and interactions with members of the veteran family community throughout the preceding 12 months.  

 The priorities were:   

  1. Mental health support needs of veterans families 
      • Those bereaved by a service related death 
      • Children of veterans who have died as a result of their service or of veterans who have been significantly wounded/injured or ill as a result of their service 
      • Those who have experienced trauma related to a veteran 
      • Those caring for wounded/injured and ill veterans 
  2. Equity in war widow and veteran family entitlements and concessions; and   
  3. Meaningful recognition and engagement of veterans’ families within support system. 

 Progress against each is currently being considered and assessed. A new plan for the 2024-25 year will shortly be available outlining the priority areas and outcomes being sought by the Guild.  

Our recent advocacy achievements

As a result of our advocacy work and that of others in the sector over recent years we have: 

  • helped medically injured personnel stay in the ADF by making the case to the the Royal Commission,
  • successfully advocated for War Widows Day in NSW,
  • ensured that veteran families recognised as a group of interest in the national plan to end violence against women,
  • raised concerns with DVA about gold card access for children with mental health issues and ensured gold cards that had been removed from school aged children have been returned,  
  • ensured that widows with gold cards get registration concession in NSW, and
  • protected and improved war widow entitlements under the new veteran’s legislation scheme. 

How can you help? Get involved.

Help us create change for defence families by joining the movement. Here’s how you can get involved. 

Share your story with us 

We want to hear your story and how it can help us identify the gaps that need to be fixed. We can also support you with your advocacy issue. Email us at guild@fov.org.au. 

Contribute to consultation processes and our submissions 

We take part in all consultations that can benefit our veterans’ families and we need your input. Your experiences, views and opinions help us make better submissions to the Royal Commission or other government consultations. Keep up with our current submissions and consultations by signing up for our advocacy updates here or on our News Page. 

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