We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have served in our armed forces and who may have made sacrifices to protect our nation in times of greatest need, during peace or war.
While most veterans benefit from their time in Service and have a successful return to civilian life, those who experience a negative impact should be acknowledged and supported. This support isn't just for the veterans themselves; it extends to the families and communities intertwined with their lives. It's about nurturing a sense of belonging, providing stability, and acknowledging the ripple effects of military Service on those closest to them.
My vision is for a Scotland where the contributions and sacrifices made by veterans and their families are recognised and appreciated, and where all veterans feel valued by society.
In my role as Scottish Veterans Commissioner, I work to advocate for our veterans and their families, working collaboratively across boundaries, to influence policy and service delivery and make life better for the ex-Service community who live in Scotland.
Engagement sits at the core of my work. Since my appointment I have met with and listened carefully to the experiences of individual veterans and their families. I have tried to better understand how things feel for them, to consider their changing needs, and to inform the recommendations I make.
In doing so I wanted to listen to all veterans, especially to those members of our veteran community whose voices are not heard so often; women, family members including children, non-UK veterans, the bereaved and LGBT+ veterans. I am delighted to be able to include some of the actual voices from our veteran community in this report.
I have heard from many professional bodies, charities, service providers, volunteers, and other organisations who work to support veterans and their families, learning about their successes and challenges, seeking examples of good practice, and trying to find out what needs to change to improve the lives of the veteran community.
While there has undoubtedly been progress in statutory provision for veterans, some parts of the community have not been so well supported. This includes those LGBT+ veterans and women veterans who have had very negative experiences while serving. These experiences have continued to affect them in their civilian lives and in their approach to accessing support when needed. I listened to the experiences of family members and the bereaved who have not always been included in the development of services and support.
I am hugely grateful to everyone who has taken the time to engage with me as I have gone about my work. It is a privilege to hold this role, and I continue to be inspired and appreciative of our veteran community and everyone who plays a part in it.
One thing that has been very clear throughout my engagement is the diverse range of skills, talents, needs, experiences and situations of those I have met. It has reminded me that all veterans are unique individuals: we may have worn a uniform, but we are anything but uniform.
Scottish Veterans Commissioner
- Report home
- Introduction and approach
- Section 1: Veteran and family empowerment
- Section 2: Understanding, recognising, valuing and supporting diversity
- Section 3: Responsive to need and collaborative in approach
- Scottish Veterans Commissioner Recommendations