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Agencies supporting the Independent Review

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) are providing technical expertise to support the Independent Review.

They will support the National Commissioner by linking and analysing available data. They will also look at existing research and policy approaches.

These data will be used to identify themes and trends that may be relevant to deaths by suicide among serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members. This will include looking at ‘risk factors’ and ‘protective factors’ for suicide– characteristics that may increase or decrease a person’s risk of dying by suicide.

These organisations will protect people’s privacy and confidentiality and must follow strict rules and laws in relation to this. The AIHW will protect privacy by analysing de-identified data.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is Australia’s leading health and welfare statistics agency. The AIHW provides independent information and statistics to enable evidence-based decision-making and achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes for all Australians.

To support the review, the AIHW will compare and analyse health and welfare experiences of serving and ex-serving ADF members. This includes:

  • demographic data (for example, age, sex, marital status and country of birth)
  • ADF service data (for example, about length of service, number of deployments, whether a person was a non-commissioned officer or commissioned officer, and whether a person discharged voluntarily or involuntarily (including medical discharge) from the ADF)
  • use of DVA services
  • health service use
  • socio‑economic characteristics (including income and education)
  • psychosocial and other causal factors surrounding suicide death (including things like previous self-harm, relationship issues, legal issues, loss of a loved one, unemployment and homelessness).

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) is an independent authority that leads and coordinates national improvements in the safety and quality of health care for Australians. The ACSQHC aims to ensure people receive the health care they should, and are kept safe when they receive it.

The ACSQHC will support the review in several ways. ACSQHC has undertaken a literature review, which looks at existing research and policy approaches, international patterns, and risk and protective factors for deaths by suicide among serving and ex‑serving ADF people. The literature review is available for download.

The ACSQHC’s analysis of coronial information will focus on people who served one day or more since 1 January 2001 and died by suicide between 2001-2018. The ACSQHC cannot access coronial information in cases where the coronial process is not complete.

Families, as well as those whose loved ones served outside the date ranges above, will have the chance to share their story as part of the review.

The ACSQHC will work closely with the AIHW to bring the research of both organisations together. This will help the National Commissioner to identify common themes, systemic factors and where there may be gaps, barriers, enablers, and potential opportunities to improve services or interventions to prevent the loss of lives by suicide, and to improve the wellbeing of serving and ex-serving ADF members and their families.