In 2016, the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee (the Senate Committee) conducted an inquiry into suicide by veterans and ex-service personnel. The Senate Committee’s report on the inquiry, The Constant Battle: Suicide by Veterans, was tabled in Parliament on 15 August 2017.
The Senate Committee’s report recommended in part that:
The Australian Government commission an independent study into the mental health impacts of compensation claim assessment processes on veterans engaging with DVA and the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation. The results of this research should be utilised to improve compensation claim processes.
In the Government response, tabled in October 2017, the Government agreed to this recommendation in full and outlined that the results of the study, once completed, together with the considerable amount of existing evidence gathered through the Veteran Centric Reform (VCR) program, would be used to inform further improvements to DVA.
DVA commissioned Professor Alex Collie of Monash University to review key research, including a desktop study and literature review undertaken by Phoenix Australia, and explore possible DVA actions that may mitigate potential mental health impacts of DVA’s compensation claim processes.
The report of Professor Collie’s independent study (the Collie report) was completed on 5 March 2019, and publicly released on 10 April 2019.
The Collie report identified eleven ‘areas of potential action’, where DVA could act to adopt emerging best practices in claims management, as well as address key factors related to the mental health impacts of compensation claim processes.
The recommended areas for action were broadly consistent with work already in progress under DVA’s Transformation program to improve how DVA supports veterans and their families.
Following is an update on the progress of DVA actions related to the ‘eleven areas’ identified in the Collie report, as at 30 June 2020: