AFF sometimes receives enquiries of a sensitive or more challenging nature around sexual violence, domestic abuse, addiction, gambling and more general mental health and wellbeing issues.

We are always exploring what specific support there is out there for the armed forces community, so that support can be offered by those professionals who understand the unique nature of army life.

Karen Ross, AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, has been speaking to some organisations that can help…


Forces Family Support is a charity dedicated to supporting members of the armed forces community affected by a loved one’s addiction. The charity understands that addiction not only affects individuals but can have a huge impact on their families and friends too. These effects can be profound, causing strained relationships, financial difficulties and emotional turmoil.

The support provided is free, confidential and without stigma or judgment. Outside the chain of command, it is available to veterans, reservists and those currently serving and their families, carers, colleagues and friends. The services address the emotional and practical challenges faced by armed forces communities.

Forces Family Support services include a phone helpline 0300 222 5747, available 9am to 9pm, 365 days a year, one-to-one and group support sessions and counselling provided by registered practitioners in a confidential space.

A recent client of the service said: “I am so grateful to Forces Family Support for the lifeline they have thrown me when my son, who is currently serving, was struggling with alcohol and gambling.”

Visit or email to learn more.


A sexual assault is any sexual act that a person did not consent to or is forced into against their will. It is a form of sexual violence and includes rape.

SARCs are located across England and are available free of charge for anyone who has experienced a sexual assault. They offer services including forensic examinations to support police investigations, emergency contraception and referrals to supportive agencies.

In September 2023, Emma Hatfield (main photo) was appointed as a forensic nurse advisor for sexual assault (military) as part of the newly re-commissioned SARC service for Yorkshire and the Humber.

This new role aims to provide specialist support and care for members of the military community who have experienced rape or sexual assault. It also aims to enhance the response to disclosures of rape and sexual assault, encompassing serving and ex-serving personnel, and family members.

Emma brings eight years of experience as a forensic nurse examiner and SARC manager and is based in The Harewood Medical Practice, Catterick Garrison. She has already seen an increase in attendance at the SARC.

She says: “Our aim is to ensure any victim or survivor has access to a similar service regardless of where they are based within the military, either at home or overseas.”

One client said: “Thanks for listening to me, it’s good that your office is away from the bases, it makes it easier to come and see you.”


If you have experienced a sexual assault, contact 0330 223 0099 for 24/7 support and advice or see

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