The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has put out the following statement for those who may be affected.
Some members of the veteran and Defence community may be concerned by the ongoing investigation by the Australian Federal Police and the Office of the Special Investigator, which was set up in the wake of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) inquiry.
The findings of the IGADF inquiry are serious and may understandably cause concern or anxiety in the community, especially for our Afghanistan veterans and their families.
Please remember that our focus at DVA is to support your health and wellbeing. So, if you need mental health or medical support, we strongly encourage you to get in touch with us. DVA is not part of any investigation. Our only concern is your wellbeing.
To anyone who is serving in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), or has served, or is close to a serving or ex-serving member, please remember:
· You should be immensely proud of your service, or your loved one’s service, and there is overwhelming respect in the Australian community for your service and sacrifice.
· If you need help, reach out and get the specialist support you need. Support is readily available through DVA and is routinely used by thousands of serving personnel and veterans every year.
· Families, particularly children and teenagers, could also be affected and there is support available for them as well.
· We don’t need to know what happened overseas. We just want to make sure you’re okay. And help you cope with what you are feeling today.
Where to Get Help
For all current ADF members and their families, the Defence all-hours Support Line is a confidential phone and online service and is available on 1800 628 036. Families of serving personnel can also contact the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608.
All current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families can access Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling. Open Arms is a national mental health service that provides 24-hour free and confidential counselling. It is not part of the Department of Defence. Importantly the Open Arms website provides a range of self-help resources and wellbeing tools. Visit openarms.gov.au or phone1800 011 046.
In addition, Safe Zone Support is an anonymous counselling service that has been established to support veterans and their families impacted by the IGADF Inquiry. Safe Zone Support is staffed by specialist counsellors who have an understanding of military culture and experience and can be accessed at:openarms.gov.au/safe-zone-support or 1800 142 072. Calls to Safe Zone Support are not recorded. Both current members of the ADF and veterans can access this service any time, day or night.
Family of veterans or service personnel who are concerned about the impact the of the arrest or the Inquiry may have on a loved one, can call DVA to seek guidance on the support available.
If you are unsure what support is available please contact DVA on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372).
If you know someone in need, please pass on this important message – DVA is there to help.
Ex-service and Non-Government Organisations
· Ex-service organisations (ESOs) play a vital and complementary role to DVA by providing mateship, advocacy and welfare support. You can find ESOs on the DVA website.
· There are also a number of excellent non-service related community organisations available, such as Lifeline (call 13 11 14 for 24/7 crisis support or visit www.lifeline.org.au)