Advocating for Defence families

Focus on Defence family advocacy this National Families Week

The national advisory body for families of current serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members has released the latest version of its Advocacy Map highlighting completed and ongoing work in conjunction with National Families Week (15-21 May 2023).

This is the fourth public version of the document released by Defence Families of Australia (DFA), providing a snapshot in time of the advocacy work being undertaken by the organisation.

The aim of the Advocacy Map is to provide transparency of the work DFA does, and to offer the opportunity for Defence families and other stakeholders to support these advocacy efforts.

“National Families Week is a great time to pause and reflect on the role that Defence families play in enhancing broader Defence capability by supporting and sustaining happy ADF members,” said Defence Family Advocate of Australia, Sandi Laaksonen-Sherrin.

“We are here to make sure families’ voices are heard and considered from the highest levels of government to the operational level across Defence to effect sustainable, long-term policy changes.”

Mrs Laaksonen-Sherrin said the document offered important information to families and key stakeholders on the status of DFA’s advocacy goals, particularly relating to family and domestic violence, housing, communication, education and employment within the Defence family community.

“The theme of this year’s National Families Week is ‘Living Real, Dreaming Big’ which is what our team does every day for the Defence community. We aim to reduce the negative impacts of military service on ADF families, and to support the positive aspects of this unique Defence lifestyle,” she said.

“Defence has a range of services and programs to support Defence families, but we recognise there is more to be done to reduce some of the challenges faced and how often they arise.

“This is where Defence Families of Australia comes in as the official advisers to Defence and Government.

“We encourage Defence families to connect with other families this week, find out more about services and programs for them, lean in to the supports available to Defence families, and contact us if they feel there is a policy gap we can help to address.”

National Families Week is run by Families Australia, which strives to improve the wellbeing of all Australian families and is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

To find out more about the range of services offered, Defence families can call the 24-hour Defence Member and Family Support helpline on 1800 624 608 or visit

Read the latest version of Defence Families of Australia’s Advocacy Map.

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