The health and wellbeing of female Vietnam and contemporary veterans

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) commissioned this study in 2009 in order to learn more about the needs of the growing number of female veterans.  The study was completed in 2012.  The report’s findings were based on in-depth interviews with 60 female veterans and 30 workers in the female veteran health and wellbeing field, as well as reviews of previous research.

The study found that overall, the women interviewed ‘highly value their careers in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and are empowered by the skills and opportunity it affords them.’  Nevertheless, the report identified a range of issues affecting female veterans’ interactions with DVA and the ADF, with impacts on health and wellbeing. 
The Health and Wellbeing of Female Vietnam and Contemporary Veterans report is available here:

The ADF Service Women Steering Committee

The Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence recognises that female current and former members of the ADF have different requirements. Jointly, Defence and DVA established an ADF Service Women Steering Committee, which provided an opportunity to discuss care and support issues with current and former ADF service women. The Committee’s membership included current and former soldiers, sailors and airwomen (regular/permanent and reserve), who have deployed to Somalia, Timor Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Committee met six times throughout 2013 and considered the key principles and findings in The health and wellbeing of female Vietnam and contemporary veterans report as well as information from DVA and Defence on policies, programs and service delivery. A number of issues were discussed including health care, mental health, rehabilitation, family support, transition and post-transition.

The report of the ADF Service Women Steering Committee was considered by the Repatriation Commission and Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission on 12 December 2013.  The Commissions requested the Defence/DVA Links Steering Committee consider the operational implications of the recommendations in the report and prepare a joint Departmental response and implementation plan. This plan is expected to be finalised in the first half of 2014.

These key initiatives including The health and wellbeing of female Vietnam and contemporary veterans report and the establishment of the ADF Service Women Steering Committee are guiding improvements to the way Defence and DVA supports female current and former serving ADF members and their families.