DVA focus on the Welfare of Special Forces members impacted by Afghanistan Inquiry
The focus of the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) is on the health and welfare of any veterans or their family members who may be concerned or impacted by the Afghanistan Inquiry or its findings. To that end, DVA is working closely with the Department of Defence to ensure that veterans and their families, are appropriately supported by DVA and Open Arms - Veteran & Families Counselling (Open Arms).
Below is a letter (dated October 2020), from DVA to DRA, describing this and including information about the various support services that are available.
Information on support services available can be found on the DVA website:
For serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families
• Department of Defence (Defence) members, their family and dependants, have access to Chaplaincy services to receive pastoral care, support or advice. Service Chaplains maintain a 24/7 call service and have support networks across Australia. To get in touch with a Chaplain, Defence or family members can either call their unit, base or ship Chaplain, or ring the Defence switch and ask to speak to the on call Chaplain in your area.
• All-hours Support Line 1800 628 036, available 24/7.
This is a confidential telephone service that provides access to mental health advice and referral for ADF members and their families.
• The Defence Family Helpline (staffed by social workers, psychologists and other human service professionals) also provides assistance, support and advice to members. The Defence Family Helpline is available 24/7 and can be accessed on 1800 624 608 or at Defencefamilyhelpline@defence.gov.au or online at: www.defence.gov.au/DCO/Defence-Helpline.asp
For current serving and former ADF members, and Defence personnel and their families
• Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling 1800 011 046 or online at: www.openarms.gov.au
Open Arms provides counselling and support programs to ADF members and their families and operates a free-call all-hours crisis telephone service as well as providing face to face support. Members can sometimes feel more comfortable reaching out to Open Arms in the first instance as Open Arms is not part of Defence.
• Lifeline Australia 13 1114, available 24/7 or online at www.lifeline.org.au
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
• ADF Health and Wellbeing Portal - www.defence.gov.au/health/healthportal
The ADF Health and Wellbeing Portal provides information on a wide range of Defence websites containing information on ADF Health and Mental Health services and supports, as well as links to many useful external resources.
• Department of Veterans' Affairs (OVA) (for current and former serving ADF members) - call 1800 555 254.
Current or former serving members and their families may wish to contact OVA for access to advice, claims and OVA support mechanisms.
• Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 1300 687 327, available 24/7 free.
EAP is a confidential and professional counselling service available to Defence APS employees (APS), Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) employees, Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reservists, ADF Cadets, Officers and Instructors of ADF Cadets and their immediate families, and their supervisors/managers.
Further information is available on the following links:
IGADF Afghanistan lnquiry - www.defence.gov.au/mis/igadf-afghanistan-inquiry.asp
IGADF inquires Welfare Support Information - https://www.defence.gov.au/mjs/welfare-support-services.asp