Compassionate support

A career in the Royal Navy is a career like no other - and a unique way of life requires a unique support system. The Royal Navy provides compassionate support services to help serving personnel and their families navigate the unique challenges of Naval life.

How it works

Compassionate support falls into two categories: Primary Welfare and Secondary Welfare. Primary Welfare includes line management, medical support and chaplaincy. 

If the issue can't be dealt with at this level, it will be escalated to Secondary Welfare, which is provided by the Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare (RNRMW) service. 

Where to find support



Primary Welfare for families can be provided by the support of family and friends, work colleagues and by their GP or other healthcare staff (such as a pharmacist).

Family members can also get support from their local community chaplains, Naval Service chaplains or ‘Aggies’ – pastoral workers from the Aggie Weston’s charity, who work within many Royal Navy units and local communities.

The Royal Navy also maintains a network of community centres located close to Naval Service units. Community centres are a great way of getting together with likeminded people and building a support network – especially if you’re living away from extended family.

The RNRMW Information Support team can provide you with impartial information on a range of support services across the UK. They can also guide you to Secondary Welfare services where appropriate.

You can access Secondary Welfare by calling the RNRMW Portal on 023 9272 8777. If your serving person is working overseas, outside of UK waters and you experience a serious illness or death in your family, you should call Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) on 01452 519951.


Primary Welfare for serving personnel sits with their Divisional Officer (DO), medical and chaplaincy staff.

Any personal issues can be discussed with the DO with added support from medical staff if required. Both can provide any action that may be needed, such as compassionate leave.

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your DO, your local chaplain and pastoral workers are always on hand to lend an ear. And if you’d rather speak to someone outside of the Royal Navy, your RNRMW Information Officer can signpost you to external services.

Secondary Welfare comes into place when the Primary Welfare has been exhausted and more specialised advice and support is needed.

You can access this support by calling the RNRMW Portal on 023 9272 8777. A full assessment will be carried out, with recommendations given to your chain of command regarding compassionate action if the situation should require this. You may also be allocated an RNRMW Case Worker to support you through your difficult time, or you may be provided with practical support from the RNRMW Welfare Support Workers.