Departmental response to Daily Telegraph

Veterans in jail

20 June 2019

States and territories are responsible for corrective services, including data collection. The Australian Government is interested in gaining a better understanding of the scale, nature and causes of veteran incarceration.

For this reason, the Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel has been raising this matter with state and territory veterans’ affairs minsters though the Veterans’ Ministers Council. We are continuing to work with our state and territory colleagues to capture more comprehensive reporting.

Generally, compensation for permanent impairment is still payable while a veteran is incarcerated, but income support or income replacement payments are not.

Ex-service organisations such as the Returned and Services League of Australia, as part of our wellbeing model, reach out to veterans who are incarcerated.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) focus is on seeking to better address the risks that may lead to incarceration, including targeting the mental health needs of former serving members of the Australian Defence Force. This will allow early intervention and prevention of some circumstances that may lead to incarceration.

Services are available to support veterans as they leave incarceration, including free mental health support, and some clients may receive a ‘one-off’, non-taxable crisis payment from DVA to assist in establishing a new residence. This is in addition to the client’s regular DVA payments.