Service providers who specialize in women's services, crisis support, and domestic violence encounter many service members, veterans, and military families, but they might not know it. Veterans do not always identify themselves, nor do their spouses and loved ones. They can be proud and stoic, and tend to be more comfortable helping others than asking for help themselves – even when they need it. Combat traumas, Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and reintegrating after a military deployment can impact family relationships, anger management, and safety. Appropriate service provision and coordination depends on understanding a client's history and the various challenges, opportunities, and services available to them. The way to ensure service members, veterans, and their families get the best possible services is to ASK!
As part of the initial Intake with a new client, ask, "Have you, or a family member, ever served in the military?"
When the answer is "YES" , you might then say "thank you for your service." This should always be delivered with sincerity and good eye contact, and only if you feel the individual would receive this positively.
Once you have identified a military-veteran client, you will then be able to increase your understanding of their challenges and better assist them in safely accessing the resources and services they need. Asking further questions about military service will also help you:
Read a vignette about how Women's Services & Crisis Centers providers can make a big difference!
Following are some questions that could be asked in the context of gathering information for more effective referrals and services. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, and show respect, curiosity, and empathy. Also be aware that responsiveness and effective follow-up are critical to building trust and rapport.
Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.Click or touch each question to see additional information.