The National Information Centre on Children of Offenders is conducting a needs assessment on veterans in custody and their families.

Former members of the Armed Forces constitute one of the largest occupational groupings in prisons in the UK (Howard League for Penal Reform, 2011) with estimates of between 3.5% (DASA, 2010) and 6% (HMIP, 2014) of the prison population. The transition from military to civilian life can be a struggle for both the individual veteran and their families. Accessing employment, debt, housing, alcohol misuse, mental health and family relationships are frequently reported as challenges into the transition to civilian life and this complex landscape of issues may increase the risk of criminal activity.


Following the Farmer Review (MoJ, 2017), we know that maintaining positive family relationships is key to reducing re-offending and this research, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust, aims to develop a robust evidence base of the family support needs in the specific case of veterans in custody and their families. We are considering the individual needs of the veteran offender, the partner (or co-parent) and children on the basis that as a whole family unit, these needs interact and impact on the wider family needs. This whole family approach will contribute towards improving outcomes for veterans involved in the criminal justice system and their families in the future.


We are currently undertaking a needs assessment using qualitative research methods with key stakeholders:

  • * veterans in custody within the male prison estate,
  • * male veteran ex-offenders in the community (released within the last 48 months)
  • * the partners/co-parents and children (18 yrs and under) of male veteran offenders
  • * professionals from criminal justice, veteran and family support sectors.

There is still time to get involved with this research. Click here for more information.