Royal Commission to begin its important work
With the start of the hearings of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide beginning next week, it’s an appropriate time for an update about the work RSL NSW is doing to make sure your voice is heard and the support we have available.
RSL NSW submission
The RSL NSW Royal Commission Office requested input from members in September to inform its submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Thank you to the hundreds of members who completed the survey.
The submission has incorporated the view of RSL NSW members, advocates and sub-Branches, and drawn on the significant breadth of evidence gathered in previous reports from inquiries into Defence and veteran suicide.
The submission notes that:
- There is considerable work ahead for the Government, the Australian Defence Force, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, ex-service organisations (ESOs) and Australian society in addressing the risk factors linked to Defence personnel and veteran suicide
- Veterans continue to face barriers regarding transition from Defence, accessing services for themselves and their families, and in their interactions with Government departments and claims processes
- While ESOs such as RSL NSW and the advocates linked to them represent an important source of health and wellbeing support to veterans, the difficult landscape that these organisations operate in hinder them functioning in the most effective way
- Throughout the previous inquiries, it has been common for governments to delay implementing recommendations. This is a source of significant frustration and a cause for cynicism as to the value of these inquiries among veterans, including the potential efficacy of the Royal Commission. The community expectation is that the time to act is now.
The RSL Australia submission to the Royal Commission, which incorporates our submission and those of several other individual State and Territory Branches, was submitted in early November and we expect the Royal Commission to make it publicly available soon, at which point we will advise members of its availability.
The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide will hold its first public hearing at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Friday 26 November. The first block of public hearings where participants will give evidence begins in Brisbane on Monday November 29.
Support for veterans engaging with the Royal Commission
In addition to its work with RSL NSW and RSL Australia submissions, the RSL NSW Royal Commission Office at ANZAC House is here to provide support to all veterans in engagement with the Royal Commission.
Should you wish to make an individual submission about your personal experience beyond how it relates to RSL NSW, please follow this link to the Royal Commission website. This site contains instructions for providing an individual submission, in both electronic and paper formats.
If you require assistance to make an individual submission to the Royal Commission, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0499 441 291.
The Attorney-General’s Department has advised that as a part of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide two types of legal assistance arrangements will be available – a legal financial assistance scheme and a national legal advice service. Please follow this link for information about the assistance provided by the Australian Government.
Defence and Veterans Legal Service
The Defence and Veterans Legal Service is a free national service supporting Australian Defence Force personnel and veterans, and their families, carers and supporters to safely share their experiences with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
See our Advocacy for Veterans’ Health and Suicide page for reports, media releases and other background information related the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
Mental health support
If you, or someone you know, requires mental health support, the following services are available:
- Your local RSL sub-Branch can be found by clicking on this link (Please note that sub-Branches do not offer mental health crisis support but can assist with connecting you to these services)
- Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Open Arms (current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families are able to seek this free and confidential support) – 1800 011 046
- ADF Mental Health All-hours Support Line (for current serving ADF personnel and their families) – 1800 628 036
- Safe Zone Support (for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families) – 1800 142 072. When you call Safe Zone Support, you do not need to identify yourself.