Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide to open in Brisbane

We are pleased to announce the commencement of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide hearings and other updates regarding the work of the Commission.


Hearings

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide will hold its first public hearing at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Friday November 26.  More details will be announced in the coming weeks. The hearing will explain how the Commissioners will conduct the inquiry. The first block of public hearings where participants will give evidence begins in Brisbane on Monday November 29, 2021.

The ceremonial hearing will be open to the public if COVID restrictions allow. It will also be webcast.


Private sessions

People are being invited to share their experiences and register for a private session. This is an opportunity to meet a Commissioner as they consider any changes that are needed to help veterans and their supporters. These sessions will begin in November and continue for the duration of the Royal Commission.


Submissions

Anyone wishing to make a submission to the Commission can do so on the Commission’s website. The Commission will accept submissions until at least the end of March 2022. The closing date will be confirmed later this year.

Sharing your experiences will help the Commission understand:
• Systemic issues among Defence and veteran deaths by suicide
• Risk factors, and
• The availability of support services

The Royal Commission cannot decide or resolve individual cases or award compensation.


Minister’s Announcement

Last week the Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel announced the appointment of consultants McKinsey & Company to take action to improve the claims system for supporting veterans, administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The Minister is reported to have said that McKinsey & Co would be consulting with bereaved families of veterans who have died by suicide.

The Royal Commission looks forward to learning more about the scope and nature of the actions McKinsey & Co will be taking, and to working with the Department to ensure the interests and wellbeing of bereaved families are protected.

The Commission Chair Nick Kaldas said: “We are mindful that with both organisations seeking to work closely with Defence members, veterans and their families, our processes should support those involved and avoid being duplicative, conflicting or otherwise overwhelming.”


Support 

The Royal Commission acknowledges that coming forward to share your experience is a big step. We want to make it as easy as possible. Please tell us about any support you need. For more information, visit the Royal Commission website.


From the Commissioners

Hearing from people touched by the tragedy of suicide and suicidal behaviour is critical for Australia to learn and improve the lives of veterans and their families.

Your story can help others. We’re encouraging anyone who wants to share their experiences to come forward.

The experiences of veterans, families, support people, organisations and the broader community will help us understand the problem and make recommendations that may reduce the number of deaths by suicide.

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