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Independent Review

The Australian Government announced the interim National Commissioner will conduct an Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides (the Independent Review).

  • The National Commissioner has commenced the Independent Review.
  • The Independent Review is not subject to the passage of legislation.
  • The interim National Commissioner will shortly provide a report to Government about her work on the Independent Review.

Terms of reference for the Independent Review

The Australian Government announced revised terms of reference for the Independent Review of past Defence and Veteran suicides.

The National Commissioner is conducting the Independent Review independently of the Government. This means the National Commissioner decides who they will meet with, what information they will request and how they will undertake their work.

The review will look into risk and protective factors and systemic issues related to suicide risk among serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, by examining past deaths by suicide, or suspected suicide, of ADF members and veterans.

It will give specific consideration to ADF service, transition out of the ADF, and pre and post-service issues. It will, as relevant, also consider the broader social and cultural factors that may relate to suicide risk.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care are providing technical expertise to support the Independent Review. Find out more about the agencies supporting the Independent Review.

Scope of the Independent Review

The National Commissioner can consider any past death by suicide, or suspected suicide, of an ADF member or veteran who served at least one day or more. This includes cases that are being investigated by a coroner and suspected deaths by suicide. However, the National Commissioner will not make, influence, review, or overturn coronial findings.

The agencies (the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care) supporting the Independent Review will focus on deaths by suicide among serving and ex-serving ADF members, which occurred between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2018, who served one day or more since 1 January 2001. This is the date range for which the most comprehensive and robust data and information is available.

Literature Review

As part of their work to support the review, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (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 analysis in the literature review is consistent with previous findings about these deaths and can be downloaded by visiting the publications section of our website.