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Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide to open in November

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide will hold its first public hearing on Friday 26 November.

This ceremonial hearing at the Brisbane Convention Centre will explain how the Commissioners will conduct their inquiry and will be open to the public and live streamed on the Royal Commission’s website.

It will be followed by the first public hearings in Brisbane on 29 November, when members of the defence and veteran community will be invited to give evidence as witnesses.

The Royal Commission also invites defence members, veterans and their families to apply for a private session, which is a confidential meeting with a Commissioner and the most private way to share lived experience of suicide.

Private sessions will begin in Brisbane in November and run for the duration of the Royal Commission.

Royal Commission chairman Nick Kaldas said this marks an important milestone for those personally affected by the tragedy of suicide.

“Many within the defence and veteran community have lost loved ones, or have themselves experienced suicidal thoughts, impulses or actions during or after their military service,” he said.

“As we embark on this inquiry, we hope to learn from the personal experiences of those who have served and their families to identify systemic issues and risk factors that can lead to suicide.”

The Royal Commission was established in July this year to address the high suicide rates among those who have served in the Australian Defence Forces (ADF).

It will produce an interim report by 11 August 2022 and a final report by 15 June 2023.

If you want to share your experiences with the Royal Commission, it’s a good idea to get legal advice.

The Defence and Veterans Legal Service is a free national service that gives information and legal advice to support ADF personnel and veterans, as well as their families, carers and supporters, to safely share their experiences with the Royal Commission.

Defence and Veterans Legal Service is independent and separate from the Veterans Royal Commission, the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Call us on 1800 33 1800 (free call) or visit the Get legal support section of our website to find out more. For immediate help in a crisis, please go the Support services page.