Hon. Len Roberts-Smith to give evidence at Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide in Townsville

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide will hear evidence about how the Australian Defence Force manages reports of abuse, during the second week of its public hearing in Townsville.

The Commission will hear evidence from the Hon. Len Roberts-Smith QC, the inaugural Chair of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART). Mr Roberts-Smith is expected to be questioned about a 2014 DART report he authored on abuse within the ADF and how Defence culture can be improved.

The Commission will hear evidence about psychological screening and welfare support for serving members before, during and after deployment. It will examine the experiences of serving and ex-serving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ADF members. Service life at Lavarack Barracks will also be explored.

In its first week sitting in Townsville, the Commission heard evidence about the impact of military service and deployment on the mental health of Vietnam veterans’ families.

The Commission heard from former ministers for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon. Andrew Gee MP and the Hon. Darren Chester MP.

The Chief of Defence General Angus Campbell also gave evidence, during which he vowed to take action against any ADF supervisor who discouraged members from engaging with the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission has now received 1,675 submissions from current and former serving members and their families, ex-service organisations and experts.

The Townsville public hearing will conclude on 30 June.

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