Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Defence suicide Royal Commission headed to WA

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide is encouraging submissions from serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members in Western Australia, ahead of a Perth public hearing commencing on 15 May.

Royal Commission staff are in Perth this week to meet with ex-service organisations and other support groups, and hear from serving members about life on base at Campbell Barracks and HMAS Stirling.

Royal Commission Chair, Nick Kaldas said this week’s visit would help the local Defence and veteran community prepare for the inquiry’s arrival, and improve the Commission’s understanding of the unique issues affecting serving and ex-serving members of the ADF, their families and supporters in WA.

“Suicide in the Defence community is a national tragedy and we’re keen to listen to and learn from those on the ground about their key concerns, what is working and what needs to be improved,” Commissioner Kaldas said.

The Commission has had over 3,000 submissions but remains keen to hear from more serving members, and wants to encourage sailors, soldiers and aviators to make a submission.

“We want to hear about a variety of experiences – good and bad, past and present – including from those who continue to serve and protect our country,” he said.

Submissions do not have to be about suicide or suicidal behaviours. The Royal Commission wants to learn about all aspects of military life, including: recruitment, training, deployment, leadership and culture, injury management, transfer, separation, the claims process, transition to civilian life, and support for families.

Strong protections are in place for those who wish to share their story, without fear of reprisal. Counselling and other support is also available.

“This Commission is not a witch hunt nor is it about portraying veterans as broken or undermining Australia’s Defence capability,” Commissioner Kaldas said.

“We want to find long-lasting solutions to this tragic problem, to ensure our veteran and Defence community, and their families, are better supported into the future.”

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