Defence and Veteran Legal Services Newsletter—Issue 19 April 2024

Avoiding the avalanche

When veterans face problems in this digital age, we can sometimes feel overwhelmed by an avalanche of information and contradictory opinions.

Many people will generously share their various views about how to tackle a problem – but it can be hard to know which advice to follow.

At DAVLS, we specialise in providing reliable information that empowers veterans and ADF members. That trustworthy information enables them to make informed decisions and take effective action.

Plain language is equally important. We have a deep understanding of the laws and processes that affect veterans – and a deep commitment to communicating in plain English that avoids baffling jargon.

We also provide free legal advice that is tailored to a person’s circumstances. And, where necessary, we can guide you towards specialist support services in your region.

So, if you are a veteran or serving ADF member, please tell your mates that we are here to support you if you are seeking reliable answers or trustworthy advice.

Call us on 1800 33 1800 if you would like to chat with us about the questions you have and the support we can offer. All our services are free, independent and confidential.

Knowledge truly is power. We want to give people the knowledge they need, and the support they require, to resolve the challenges sometimes faced by those who have served.


Jasmine Stanton

Director of the Defence and Veterans Legal Service

Our work in your community

Across Australia we work with organisations that support veterans and ADF members. This often includes delivering free presentations to their members and attending community events.

Book a presentation

If you would like us to deliver a presentation or attend an event in your community, either in person or online, call 1800 33 1800 or email us.

At your event, we can answer your questions in a friendly and relaxed environment.

Depending on your event, we can also include opportunities for confidential, one-on-one discussions.

Royal Commission update

We continue to support veterans who are having Private Session meetings with members of the Royal Commission.

These meetings allow people to speak face-to-face about their experiences.

Private Sessions were recently held in places such as Sydney and Brisbane.

Some of our staff spoke with Royal Commissioners not long ago and introduced them to Starsky the labrador. Starsky was trained by Integra Service Dogs Australia, an organisation that provides these animals to veterans and first responders.

The final report of the Royal Commission is due on September 9th of this year.

Image credit: RCDVS

Royal Commission confidentiality protections

Do you have questions about Royal Commission confidentiality protections?

That national inquiry received almost 6,000 submissions and we assisted about 1,500 people to prepare their submissions.

For more information about confidentiality and privacy issues, contact us on 1800 33 1800.

Calling all Broome veterans

We will be in Broome early next month providing legal support to veterans and serving ADF members.

Our WA lawyer Jim Moss (pictured) can assist with a range of issues including veteran entitlements such as pensions, compensation and healthcare.

Call 1800 33 1800 for more information or to make a free appointment to see a lawyer from our service in Broome in June.

ADF Med Docs

We handle many enquiries about veteran entitlements and that often involves having conversations about ADF medical documents (also known as med docs).

These documents are very significant, and it is important to get all your injuries recorded on the med docs before you discharge.

This is because decisions about retrospective medical discharge and Commonwealth Superannuation pensions are based on evidence available at the time of discharge.

You can provide additional info

If you are applying for retrospective medical discharge, or a Commonwealth Super pension after medical discharge, you can supplement the information in your med docs with extra evidence from around the time of your discharge.

This extra evidence can cover periods when you were in the ADF and in civilian employment shortly after.

Examples of supplementary information include:

  • medical records from a private GP you saw
  • records of sick leave, or performance issues, during your civilian employment
  • receipts for regular relevant medicines
  • jobs you had to leave due to health issues, or job opportunities you missed out on
  • explanations about particular entries in your service medical record
  • a supporting letter from your ADF colleagues describing their observations about your work capacity when you served
  • a statement from you about your condition at discharge and during your post-discharge employment.

Stuck on you

You might have spotted this new sticker in the window of a business.

The sticker allows businesses - such as shops or cafes etc - to let veterans know the premises are a welcoming space for those who have served.

The stickers are the brainchild of Army veteran Billy Starr, and they can also highlight discounts available to veterans.

ADF Transition events

We recently attended ADF Transition Seminars in locations such as Canberra, Perth and Sydney.

These events help people to make the transition from the Defence Force to civilian life.

At these events we provide free legal information and advice about a wide range of issues including veteran entitlements and compensation.

A diverse team, a shared vision

Gerry is one of our staff members who served in the ADF or come from a Defence family.

Like Gerry, everyone at our service is committed to delivering free legal support to veterans and Defence Force personnel.

Our team members come from a wide range of backgrounds. Their combined capabilities are greater than the sum of their parts.


Many of our resources are available for download from our website. We are also happy to send out printed copies to our stakeholders.

Where possible, we can also send them our promotional materials that help to spread the word about our free services.

To order our free resources (including posters, brochures, wallet cards and factsheets etc) please contact us at

Dates for your diary

A key date to be aware of

9 September 2024 - final Royal Commission report due

Helping groups that can face additional barriers

We work closely with support organisations across Australia to spread the word about the specialist services we provide. Through this work, we have identified some groups (see below) that may face additional barriers when it comes to engaging with this Royal Commission.

Serving members

We travel widely to inform Defence Force members and their families about the support we provide to those who are currently serving.

Defence families

We attend many events and locations involving Defence families. This includes family fun days and sessions at wellbeing centres that support ADF families. At these locations and others, we highlight the important role that family members can play in shaping the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

Sex and gender diverse communities

We have engaged the help of various organisations that represent LGBTQIA+ personnel and veterans, and we provide support to help them with legal issues.

First Nations people

Through close consultation with First Nations communities, we have developed a range of resources including posters and brochures for First Nations people. We also liaise with key stakeholders and attend events focussing on Indigenous veterans and ADF members.

Veterans in prisons

We strive to ensure people in prison can access our services wherever they are in Australia. We have created resources for use in prisons. We also provide outreach services in some correctional facilities and deliver our support to inmates via phone or video.

Stories From the Frontline

Our podcast series, Stories from the Frontline, showcases first-person stories from veterans that have a connection to our service.

The episodes are powerful and short - usually about five minutes long.

Listen to them here.

Crisis support

For immediate help in a crisis, please contact one of the following services:

Suicide Call Back Service (a 24-hour counselling service for suicide prevention and mental health) 1300 659 467

Lifeline Australia (a 24-hour crisis support line) 13 11 14

Beyond Blue (free, immediate short-term counselling) 1300 224 636

Open Arms (a free and confidential 24/7 national counselling service for Australian veterans and their families) 1800 011 046

Defence All-hours Support Line 1800 628 036

Triple Zero 000