Skip to main content

Share your story

On this page

Crisis support

Sharing your story

To those affected by suicide, and on behalf of the Royal Commission, I make this promise: we will listen with empathy, we will act with compassion – and without fear or favour – and we will learn from your stories in order to make a real difference to the lives of serving and former personnel, and their families

Commissioner Nick Kaldas APM (Chair)

To understand the common themes, systemic issues and risk factors that contribute to suicide and suicide behaviours of serving and former Defence members, we invite you to share your story. It is important we hear from a range of people, including serving and former Defence members, their families, carers and advocates. Members of the public and organisations or institutions are also invited to make submissions.

If you believe you have experiences relevant to the Royal Commission, please share them with us.

There are a few different ways you can share your story with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

You can:

Making a submission is a valuable way to share your story and contribute to the work of the Royal Commission. A small number of people who make submissions may be contacted to appear as a witness at a public hearing.

The Royal Commission cannot decide or resolve individual cases or award any form of compensation.

If you have any questions you can find more information on our FAQs page or contact us.

Make a submission

Request a private session

Support to share your story

Support is available to help you share your story. Our Counselling and Enquiry Support team of counsellors, social workers and psychologists are here to support you throughout.

An independent legal service has been established for people who want to engage with the Royal Commission.

A legal financial assistance scheme is available to some individuals engaging with the Royal Commission.

To find out more about the supports available see our Counselling & support page.

Make a submission

Making a submission is the best way to share your story with the Royal Commission. We encourage anyone with a lived experience that is relevant to the terms of reference of the Royal Commission to make a submission.

We are interested in hearing from people with a variety of lived experiences, whether currently serving in the Defence force, former members, or family members and support people. Your lived experience does not need to relate directly to suicide for you to make a submission. Your story could be about military service, trauma, mental health, family support and other personal experiences of the Defence force. Or your story might be about issues like claims, support services or rehabilitation after you left the Defence force.

Each submission adds to the body of evidence the Commissioners will use to inform their investigation. It is important that each individual story is told - even if your story is similar to a story of a witness. Every submission adds to the evidence of systemic and structural issues within the Defence forces.

Members of the public and organisations or institutions are also invited to make submissions to the Royal Commission until Friday, 13 October 2023.

Not every person who makes a submission will appear as a witness. This does not mean that your voice is not as important as people that appear as witnesses. Every submission is read, carefully reviewed and recorded, and will contribute to the work of the Royal Commission.

Submissions can be anonymous and may be made on a confidential basis.

There is a legal advice service for people wishing to engage with the Royal Commission. Legal financial assistance is available to individuals and entities to assist with meeting the costs of legal representation and disbursements associated with engaging with the Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission recommends individuals or groups who plan to engage with the Royal Commission, who may be uncertain about the material or information they wish to provide, seek legal advice.

To make a submission online:

  • use the online submission form
  • you can attach supporting document and files (maximum 3 files, up to 25MB each)
  • you can make multiple online submissions.

To make a submission by mail:

  • download the PDF form [PDF 274KB] and post it to the Royal Commission
  • or contact us and we will post the form to you, you can then return it to the Royal Commission.

Contact the Royal Commission on 1800 329 095 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm AEST Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays) or DVSRC.enquiries@royalcommission.gov.au to receive a paper submission form.

All paper forms should be mailed to GPO Box 3273, Sydney NSW 2001 by Friday 13 October 2023.

If you have any questions you can find more information on our FAQs page or contact us.

Before making a submission, please note that the Royal Commission can't decide or resolve individual cases or award any form of compensation.

Make a submission

Private sessions

Private sessions are confidential meetings. These sessions are conducted in private with one or more of the Commissioners where you tell them about your personal experience.

You can request a private session if you are:

  • a family member of a serving and former Defence member who has died by suicide or experienced suicidal behaviour
  • a person with lived experience of suicide behaviour or risk factors, such as a serving and former Defence member or member of their family.

The information you share in a private session is confidential and helps to inform the work of the Commission. Any information you share with the Commissioners would only ever be included in a Commission report if it was deidentified.

If you would like to learn more about private session you can read our A guide to your private session factsheet.

If you'd like to share your story, you can also make a submission.

Contact us with any questions about private sessions.

Request a private session

Contribute in other ways

If you're interested in the Royal Commission, there are other ways you can get involved:

You can also subscribe to our mailing list to get updates from the Royal Commission, including details about public hearings.

Protections for people engaging with the Royal Commission

Under the Royal Commission Act there are protections available to people wishing to engage with a Royal Commission under its coercive powers.

These include:

If you request and are eligible to have a Private Session

The information you share in a private session will be kept confidential within the Commission. Nothing you say to the Commissioners in that session will be made public in a way that identifies you. You will not be named in any of the Royal Commission reports or papers.

If you are a witness at a hearing or are compelled to make a statement or provide information

Certain protections apply under the Act for any statement or disclosure made when giving evidence at a hearing or in writing in response to a notice issued under the Royal Commission Act.

The Royal Commission recommends individuals or groups who plan to engage with the Royal Commission, who may be uncertain about the material or information they wish to provide, should seek legal advice.