Brave armed forces personnel often end up missing milestone family moments in life – such as the birth of a child – due to being on missions overseas to help keep us safe, a report has found.
SSAFA - the armed forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – produced a report showing the impact of serving in the military can have on family life and to highlight how there is ‘another level of sacrifice they make’ that the general public is often unaware of.
Their research showed 20 per cent of military families missed major moments in their children’s lives, such as their first words, first steps, first day at school - and even their birth.
In addition, 28 per cent of respondents said they have not been together for significant family events like birthdays, weddings, funerals and anniversaries.
Almost a third highlighted how they feel ‘immense pressure’ when they do get family time together to enjoy themselves, which puts them under extra strain.
40 per cent of military families have also been forced to delay some of life’s major milestones, such as getting married, buying a house or starting a family due to a long deployment.
In addition, the report found 92 per cent of people surveyed in Sheffield were unaware that military deployment can last for up to 10 months at a time.
The charity spoke to 25 military families in the city.
Justine Baynes, director of the SSAFA, said: “It’s easy to forget that serving in our armed forces means more than defending the nation – there is also a human price that every member of the military pays.
“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.”
The SSAFA provides help to military personnel in a range of ways, from help with school runs to providing an understanding shoulder to lean on.
To donate to the charity visit www.ssafa.org.uk/donate