The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide is calling for submissions from current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members in Western Australia before the public hearing in Perth on May 15th. The Commission aims to address the national tragedy of suicide within the Defence community and find long-lasting solutions to support the affected individuals and their families.
This week, Commission staff are visiting Perth to engage with ex-service organizations, support groups, and active ADF members stationed at Campbell Barracks and HMAS Stirling. The visit aims to help the local Defence and veteran community prepare for the inquiry and enhance the Commission's understanding of the unique challenges faced by serving and ex-serving ADF members in Western Australia.
Commissioner Nick Kaldas stated that they are eager to hear about the primary concerns of the Defence community, what is working, and what needs improvement. Although the Commission has received over 3,000 submissions, they continue to be interested in receiving input from more serving members, including sailors, soldiers, and aviators.
Submissions can cover a wide range of experiences, both positive and negative, from those currently serving or retired. The Royal Commission is interested in learning about various aspects of military life, such as recruitment, training, deployment, leadership, culture, injury management, transfer, separation, the claims process, transition to civilian life, and family support.
Strong protections are in place for individuals sharing their stories to prevent reprisal, and counselling and other support services are available. Commissioner Kaldas emphasized that the Commission's focus is not to portray veterans as broken or undermine Australia's Defence capability but rather to find lasting solutions to support the veteran and Defence community in the future.
Find out more about making a submission by visiting the submissions page of the Royal Commission's website.