The history of the VVCS
Approximately 59,000 Australians served in the Vietnam War, and following the conflict many found themselves unable to adequately deal with the physical and emotional scars rendered by their service.
However, their shared experience also left Vietnam veterans with a remarkable commitment to each other and a determination to look after each other.
This profound sense of mateship led the Vietnam veteran community to lobby for counselling and support services for their fellow veterans and their families.
The Australian Government heeded the call of the Vietnam veterans and in 1982 the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service opened its first office in Adelaide.
Another eight offices were opened across Australia within the next 18 months. Today there are 15 centres Australia-wide.
The VVCS has evolved over the years, expanding the range of services it offers and opening its door to not only Vietnam veterans and their families, but those involved in more recent conflicts and peace operations.
Those eligible for VVCS service now include:
- ALL Australian veterans of all conflicts and peacekeeping operations
- Partners, ex-partners and dependent children of veterans/peacekeepers with issues arising from the veteran’s service
- Sons and daughters (regardless of age) of Vietnam veterans with issues relating to their parent’s service.
In 2000 the Department of Veterans’ Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Defence Force, enabling eligible ADF members to access VVCS services and programs. This MoU was reviewed and re-signed in 2008 as an Agreement for Services.
In 2007 the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service was renamed VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service, ensuring the benefits of the service founded by Vietnam veterans are shared with all Australian veterans and their families, now and into the future.
See also: A new name for the VVCS.