Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide – Themes for consultation 

Last updated: 
19 April 2021

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide Terms of Reference will be determined in consultation with the defence and veteran community and states and territories. We expect that it will cover the following themes: 

  • Systemic issues and analysis of the contributing risk factors relevant to defence and veteran death by suicide, including: 
    • Contribution of pre-service, service (including training), transition and post-service issues 
    • The relevance of issues such as service, posting history and rank of the defence member or veteran 
    • The manner of the recruitment of the person into the Australian Defence Force 
    • The manner in which a person transitioned from the Australian Defence Force 
    • The availability, quality and effectiveness of health, wellbeing and support services 
    • How information about individuals is shared by and within the government. 
    • How matters of individuals’ mental and physical health are captured during enlistment and during and after service. 
    • The quality and availability of support services for families, friends and colleagues affected by a defence and veteran death by suicide. 
    • The risk factors of defence members and veterans who have attempted or contemplated suicide or have other lived experiences of suicide. 
  • The protective and rehabilitative factors for defence members and veterans who have attempted or contemplated suicide or have other lived experiences of suicide. 
  • The engagement of defence members and veterans with Commonwealth, State or Territory Governments about support services, claims or entitlements. 

The Royal Commission will be asked to make any recommendations, including recommendations about any policy, legislative, administrative or structural reforms. 

The Royal Commission will be asked to have regard to: 

  • Previous relevant reports and inquiries. 
  • The work of the interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention. 
  • The support available to members and veterans of other defence forces, particularly in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. 
  • The role of government and non-government organisations 
  • Support services for families and others impacted by defence and veteran death by suicide 
  • Opportunities to promote the understanding of suicide risks and protective factors in the defence and general community. 

The Royal Commission will not be required to inquire into matters that it is satisfied have been dealt with by other inquiries, investigations or criminal or civil proceedings. Further, it will not be required to make findings of civil or criminal wrongdoing or findings about individual defence and veteran deaths by suicide. 

The Royal Commission will be asked to focus on systemic issues, recognising that they will be informed by individual experiences and may need to make referrals to appropriate authorities. 

The Royal Commission will be asked to recognise that its inquiries, including its findings and recommendations, will provide a foundation for the future work of the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.