Poll results: Scotland’s veterans community doesn’t feel valued
As part of my ongoing work to learn about the views and experiences of Scotland’s veterans community, I recently carried out a poll asking veterans and their families to answer the following question with one of the answers listed below:
In my role as Scottish Veterans Commissioner, part of my vision is that all members of the veterans community, including spouses, partners, children of veterans, and the bereaved, feel valued by society. As a member of this community living in Scotland, I want to hear whether you feel valued.
- As a member of the veterans community I feel very valued
- As a member of the veterans community I feel somewhat valued
- I’m not sure
- As a member of the veterans community I feel somewhat undervalued
- As a member of the veterans community I feel very undervalued
The poll was live on my website for two weeks and had almost 500 responses. I would like to extend my thanks to all of those who took the time to respond. It’s so important that the views of the veterans community are heard, so that I can reflect them in my work, areas of focus, and suggested solutions.
Unfortunately, on this occasion, the response was overwhelmingly negative, with 30% of respondents saying they feel somewhat undervalued and 33% saying they feel very undervalued. 14% said that they are unsure, with only 15% saying they feel somewhat valued and 8% saying they feel very valued.
While this response is discouraging, based on the conversations that I have been having with members of the veterans community across Scotland, it is not hugely surprising. There is a lot of positive work going on to improve the provision of support and services for veterans and their families. However, more needs to be done to ensure that support meets their specific needs and is delivered in a timely manner, wherever in Scotland they are based.
We also need to do more to help wider society understand the positive contribution that veterans and their families can make to the workplace and to communities, and the wide range of knowledge, skills and experience that they can bring. Peer-to-peer support is a significant feature of the veterans community, and it’s been really heartening to witness the care and dedication that many veterans show in supporting each other. It would be even better were veterans and their families to share this mutual support with members of their civilian communities too. This can be achieved with better understanding of veterans as valuable, dependable and resilient members of society.
These are some of the issues which I hope to address in my upcoming report on the veterans community and relationships.
I also hope to revisit the question in the above poll at a later date to examine how things may have changed.
In the meantime, I will continue to listen to the voices of Scotland’s veterans community and I am always open to hearing the experiences – good and bad – of its members. If you would like to share any views or insights, you can get in touch here.