What is the best first step?

Contact our info line to set up a meeting – 1800 33 1800 or send us an email defencevetslegal@qld.gov.au.

On the initial call, we can provide basic information about engaging with the Royal Commission, direct you to our free resources, post factsheets and information to you, or book you into an appointment with one of our lawyers, anywhere in Australia.

You can stay anonymous if you wish. 

Does my submission have to be in writing?

While people mainly use written submissions, this is not the only way. There are also options to submit a sound recording or video submission. It is up to you how you tell your story. Our lawyers can help you decide which option suits you best.

Can I give my evidence in a public hearing?

Not necessarily. The Royal Commission selects which evidence will be heard at a public hearing. Nobody is ever forced to attend a public hearing. You are welcome to request a spot at a public hearing, but ultimately it is the decision of the Royal Commission.

Can my submission be anonymous?

Yes. DAVLS can assist you with make an anonymous submission or a submission that the Royal Commission will de-identify. You do not have to tell the Royal Commission your name or details if you do not want to. We can help to put your story in a way that makes it impossible to identify you.

Does someone have to have a lived experience of suicide to make a submission?

No. Direct experience of a loss to suicide is not necessary. The Commission is interested in all factors that lead to poor mental health outcomes. They are also interested in hearing about protective measures. Relevant experience can also be from the families and supporters of serving or ex-serving ADF members. If in doubt, contact us.

Is DAVLS independent?

Yes. We are independent of the Royal Commission, ADF, Department of Defence and Department of Veteran Affairs. We work for the interest of veterans, families and supporters. They are our only concern.

The Royal Commission won’t be able to do anything, so why bother?

A Royal Commission is the highest form of inquiry on a matter of public importance. It is much more difficult for the Government to ignore a Royal Commission’s recommendations. This Royal Commission has already shone a light on important issues more than any previous inquiry. The pressure for action by Government will be much greater than that generated by previous inquiries.

How do I make a submission if the information I have is security classified?

Our lawyers are experienced at helping you get the facts across without sharing security sensitive information. If you have concerns about disclosing sensitive information, we strongly recommend that you use our service. While our lawyers are not allowed access to secret information, they are experienced at avoiding that pitfall. Talk to us.

Can we help with the Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme?

We don’t assist directly with the Scheme. The Defence Force Ombudsman’s scheme has now closed, except for those who have already submitted a notice of intention to lodge a report. If you have done that, and don’t already have a community advocate, we can organise a referral.

Can we help with veteran entitlements?

Not directly, but we can refer you to accredited advocates nationwide.

Can we help with other legal issues?

Our solicitors have broad experience and knowledge and can organise referrals on just about every legal matter. These include not just entitlements, but also superannuation, personal injury, wills and estates, family matters and even criminal matters.

We understand that legal issues can come in clusters where issues cannot be resolved separately from each other.

Is DVA going to be penalised?

The Royal Commission has a focus on systemic issues rather than individual organisations or people. The purpose is to improve services rather than mete out punishment. We have already seen action to improve waiting times on the backlog of claims.

How can I engage with DAVLS?

You can engage with us in the way that suits you best. We can travel to regional areas to talk to you directly, as well as provide our service by phone, email or video link (using services like Zoom or Microsoft Teams).

Last updated 8 November 2022