Volunteering as a couple or family

Learn more about partners or family members accompanying you on assignment.

A man and a woman stand in front of trees, they have their arms wrapped around each other's shoulder and are smiling at each other.

The Australian Volunteers Program supports volunteers to have family accompany them on assignment – these are known as Approved Accompanying Dependants (AADs). It is a big decision – there are considerations for whether having your family or partner join you on an assignment is feasible. Living overseas as a family can provide incredible experiences. It can also be challenging, and the decision requires careful thought and planning.

Volunteers with assignments of 12 months or longer may be eligible to receive financial support for AADs. The program cannot, however, guarantee this support until prospective AADs have completed all required compliance checks.

The program will conduct a rigorous risk assessment when determining whether families or partners can be supported to accompany a volunteer on an in-country assignment. Approval to deploy families and partners will be provided at the program's discretion using a comprehensive risk-based approach.

Our risk-based approach includes a careful assessment of each country noting its specific safety and security context. This assessment involves close engagement with the in-country management staff. It must be noted that families and partners will only be deployed to locations where it is safe to do so and based on a risk assessment undertaken at the time.

Read about the considerations and requirements for AADs joining you on assignment in the Australian Volunteers Guidebook.

Please note that volunteers cannot take pets on assignments. The need to care for and settle a pet, find suitable accommodation, keep them safe within a different environment, and then return them to Australia detracts from the volunteer’s orientation and could compromise relationship-building with colleagues and the community. In medical, political, or natural emergency evacuations, people have to leave their pets behind. There's a high risk of the animal suffering and stress to their owner.

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