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YVF - Summary 21 July 2016 meeting

The forum convened in Canberra on Thursday 21 July 2016.

Discussions covered a range of topics.

Advocacy Training Development Program

The Forum received an update on the Advocacy Training Development Program.

The Forum was advised the program will assist veterans to gain entitlements with the assistance of accredited advocates and will assist in ensuring the consistency of advocacy services across the veteran community.

Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme

The Forum received an update on the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme.  There have been over 11,800 surveys completed and the researchers have commenced analysing the survey responses. There will be eight reports generated from the study.

Mental and Social Health Update

The Forum was updated on ongoing mental and social health initiatives. Members were advised that volunteers are being sought for the Sydney and Townsville pilot Peer to Peer Support Network Program trials.

Impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on Veteran Rehabilitation

The Forum was advised that the NDIS is for people who are under 65 years of age and have a permanent disability. The NDIS will fund allied health and other therapy where it is required as a result of the participants’ impairments. DVA has a focus on ‘whole-of person’ rehabilitation while the NDIS has less of a restorative focus. DVA clients also have broader options in relation to retraining and vocational rehabilitation.

DVA Response to the Processes to Support Victims of Abuse in Defence Report Further Update

The Forum was advised that DVA is the lead agency for implementing the Government’s response to recommendation five, relating to non-liability health care, recommendation six, relating to the evidentiary difficulties experienced by claimants, and recommendation seven, regarding the provision of support to community based organisations who assist victims of abuse.

DVA Reconnects Project

The Forum was updated on the 2016 trial to reconnect with veterans who are aged 50 years and under, have served in the Middle East and have an accepted claim for a specified condition.

Member Submissions

The Forum heard four member submissions from the Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans’ Association, Australian Special Air Service Association and Defence Families Australia.

The four member submissions addressed:

  • clarity about issues of eligibility and entitlements of dependent partners;
  • Special Rate Disability Pension (SRDP);
  • claims being processed under the Statement of Principles (SOP) for suicide and moderate to severe traumatic brain injury; and
  • findings from the 2015 ADF Families Survey and Defence Families of Australia’s Family Support Project Report.

Guest Presentations

The Forum heard two guest presentations:

  • Professor David Forbes from Phoenix Australia spoke to the Forum about the Restore Trial, a PTSD treatment trial run in partnership with Department of Defence, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Phoenix Australia. This is a new type of treatment which will study the effects of a shortened treatment time for Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD.Mr
  • Andrew Condon CSC from the Aspen Foundation updated the Forum on the completion of the ESO Mapping Project.

The next forum will meet on Thursday 17 November 2016.

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