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. 

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.

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).

Does someone have to have a lived experience of suicide to speak to a Royal Commissioner in a private session?

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 of serving or ex-serving ADF members. If in doubt, contact us.

Please note: registration for private sessions closed in April 2023. Private sessions are still taking place. We offer free, independent and confidential advice and support to prepare for or attend a private session. Please contact us for more information.

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 compared to other kinds of inquiries. This Royal Commission has already shone a light on important issues more than any previous inquiry. The pressure for Government to take action is much greater than that generated by previous inquiries.

Is DAVLS independent?

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

How do I speak in a private session 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 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 provide advice and 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 family law, superannuation, employment, wills and estates and even criminal matters.

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

Last updated 8 November 2022