Advocating for Defence families

Advocacy Achievements

Over the 18 months from 2021, DFA completed a number of advocacy items. We have listed a handful of these below under our five priority themes, as well as areas including General Advocacy.

Many additional goals are ongoing, and remain in the broader map. You can find ALL of our completed goals published in our bi-annual Advocacy Map. All previous versions of the map can be found on our Publications page.

2022-2023 Highlights


  • Supported the review and improvements to the DHA rental reference letter, enabling families to be better positioned to secure rental properties (e.g. when a relationship ends). This template includes: payment history, statement of regularity of inspections, and details of the conditions of premises.
  • Obtained the national expansion of the DHA Flexible Housing Trial.
  • Obtain Defence commitment to review current housing and relocations policy for any areas which may support or hinder family and domestic violence interventions, including those that may be used for coercive control. Review to be undertaken in 2022.
  • Advocate for Defence to reduce relocations where possible during the pandemic.
  • Request Defence promote flexible working arrangements during the pandemic and beyond.


  • Advocated for greater direct communication with Defence families by adapting Defence communications systems (to an ‘opt-out’ communication approach).
  • Established improved information input channels with key stakeholders, including DHA, Toll, DMFS and others.
  • Confirmed the Defence Force Transition Program (DFTP) process to ask all members who they would like to bring to their meeting/s with a transition coach, i.e. spouse, family member or other support person.
  • Secure the expansion of PEAP, allowing partners to access it at any point during a posting.
  • Obtain commitment from DMFS to provide additional tutoring support on a case-by-case basis for Defence children whose educational outcomes have been impacted by the pandemic and/or relocations.


      • Shared learnings from Defence School Mentor program with Veteran Family Advocate to develop veteran child services where required.
      • [PRIORITY GOAL – Education] Collaborated with the Veterans SA brief to State Ministers to advocate for the establishment of an enrolment identifier for South Australian Defence school children.
      • Provide feedback to DMFS for improvements in the Moving Schools Checklist. Updates published in 2022.
      • Confirm and increase awareness of the Defence commitment to maintain Defence School Mentor services to Defence children of transitioned ADF members for as long as they are in a school with a mentor.
      • Support the review and expansion/growth of the DSM program.


      • Created and delivered the Defence Family Career Comeback Course pilot program in collaboration with the University of New South Wales Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW AGSM), to support Defence and veteran family members to overcome setbacks or challenges to their preferred career path. The pilot program was delivered in November 2022, and was supported by the Department of Defence and NSW Government.
      • Advise key stakeholders to use the term ‘Defence Family Employment’ in place of ‘Partner Employment’ to broaden the support available for working-aged children and other members of Defence families.
      • Advise corporates and other organisations on Defence Family Employment initiatives, and potential collaborative projects with other stakeholders in the sector.
      • Advise CDF to request Defence Command support families of frontline workers to enable them to do this critical work during the pandemic.


        • Provided advice and information to Veterans SA to produce the Family Domestic and Sexual Violence Fact Sheets for the Military Community for the South Australian Office for Women.
        • Produced and submitted the DFA Issues Paper: Defence Family and Domestic Violence to Chief of Defence Force and the MInister for Defence Personnel.
        • Consulted with the Defence Family and Domestic Violence Steering Committee on the development of the Defence Family and Domestic Violence Strategy (Strategy is proposed to be released 2023).
        • Provided advice and participated in the Australian Institute of Family Studies’ Strengthening and Protecting Veteran Family Relationships Study.
        • Improved DFA’s website and statements to ensure clear inclusion and respect of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans/transgender, Intersex, Queer/questioning, and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) members of the Defence community.

        Transition out of Defence Service

        Afghanistan Evacuation

        General Advocacy

        • Achieved an increase of the ADF Family Health Program benefit from $400 to $800 and expansion of eligible services that can be claimed.
        • Provided a submission to the Defence Strategic Review (DSR), to ensure families are considered. Families have been factored in particularly under the DSR priority addressing recruitment and retention in the ADF.
        • Obtained an increase in the Remote Leave Locality Travel (RLLT) entitlement of one extra trip per year.
        • [PRIORITY GOAL – Communication] Supported the Defence Veterans Family Support Strategy through contributing to the development and delivery of the survey, and providing key information to the Steering Committee and Working Group to inform the guiding principles of the strategy.
        • Obtain Defence commitment to reinstate reunion travel for overseas deployments, in line with Allied Nations, during the pandemic.
        • Advocate for Defence to expand eligibility and reduce red tape around processes for families to access support services on return to Australia following an overseas posting.
        • Advocate for Defence families to be supported to relocate where needed during the pandemic, keeping the family together and supporting the Defence member to deliver Defence capability.
        • Inform Defence communication campaigns around State and Territory pandemic restrictions to support families to plan and decide upon their posting.
        • Obtain commitment from the WA and VIC Governments to overturn pandemic border policies which restrict Defence families relocating to these regions with their ADF member on posting.

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