Recognition for veteran families recommended

Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal recommends medallic and emblematic recognition for veteran families

The Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal has recommended that families of fallen or seriously injured veterans receive “medallic and emblematic recognition”, with leading advocacy group Australian War Widows NSW welcoming the announcement.

Pending endorsement from the government, it is the first time that families of fallen or seriously injured veterans have been recognised for their sacrifice, with family members receiving either a Memorial Star or Gratitude Star emblem.

The announcement came following a consultative period conducted by the Tribunal, with leading advocacy group Australian War Widows NSW (AWWNSW) recommending that families receive greater recognition for the impact of death and injury of loved ones in the service of the Australian Defence Force.

“Recognition, at its core, is not only acknowledging the validity of something, but also about identifying those with like experiences. It is a positive and powerful influence in the veteran community. It enables acceptance, conversations, community identification and help seeking,” Renee Wilson, chief executive of AWWNSW, said.


“We are very pleased and proud that our submission to the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal has been recognised in some of the recommendations put forward.”

The group submitted its recommendation having reviewed the views of its members, with the recommendation suggesting that “recognition for veterans, including deceased veterans, to be medallic in nature”.

While AWWNSW understands that there are support packages in place for injured veterans, there remains no medallic emblem of gratitude.

As such, the Tribunal recommended the creation of the Memorial Star to recognise family sacrifice of loved ones who fell in service to the ADF or whose death was service related, and the Gratitude Start to recognise serious injuries sustained throughout service.

To reduce stigma of veteran mental health, AWWNSW’s submission recommended there be no distinction between the circumstances of death, injury or moral injury.

Wilson appeared before a public hearing into the matter.

The definition of family was recently updated, and according to a statement from the AWWNSW includes:

  • biological, adoptive, step and foster parents;
  • de jure and de facto spouses of any gender;
  • biological, adopted, step and foster children;
  • all other blood relatives or relatives by marriage; and
  • other persons for whom a member has expressed a family-like relationship in their will or similar document.

The AWWNSW was established 75 years ago, representing those women personally affected in the service of Australia. They have recently expanded their remit to support all family members of the veteran community.


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