Counselling Services

VVCS provides free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and anger.

VVCS will also counselling for matters relating to sexual orientation gender identity.

VVCS also provides relationship and family counselling - including same-sex couples - to address issues that can arise due to the unique nature of the military lifestyle. VVCS counsellors have an understanding of military culture and can work with clients to find effective solutions for improved mental health and wellbeing.

Veterans and their families are encouraged to be aware of changes in mental state (such as increased irritability or restlessness, social withdrawal, reduced concentration, disturbed sleep, increased worry) and to take action at the early signs and seek professional support, not wait to see if they will go away.

Visit the AT EASE website for information about mental health concerns common to veterans and their families.

During business hours 1800 011 046 connects you to the nearest VVCS centre. View the list of VVCS centres.

Outside business hours 1800 011 046 connects you with Veterans Line, the VVCS after-hours telephone crisis counselling service.

Veteran Partner Recognition

Veterans should ensure that their partners are registered and recognised by DVA to ensure they can access support in the untimely event of the veteran's death. This is particularly important for veterans in same-sex relationships where a marriage certificate cannot be produced.

The Gold Card and war widow(er)s pensions are part of the compensation pension package for the veteran's death. In certain circumstances the granting of the war widow pension is automatic.

If DVA have no record of a partner, then a manual application is required following the death of the veteran. This may include proving that a bona-fide relationship existed, which can be quite difficult -- particularly since Australian law does not allow same-sex people to be married and be issued with a marriage certificate recognised by the Commonwealth at a Federal level.

To avoid such issues, it is recommended that veterans ensure that their partner is registered and recognised by DVA, and that contact details are kept current.

The War Widows Guild, Legacy and the RSL are usually able to assist with applications for the Gold Card and war widow(er)s pension. DEFGLIS does not have significant experience in this area, but we will try to make sure that your questions are answered.

Online facilities available at www.dva.gov.au are used to register family information. Veterans can register for a MyAccount so that your information can be updated on line.  Alternatively, you can telephone DVA’s Veterans Affairs Network (VAN)  on 133 254.

On the right hand side of the website under Quick Links are Topic Factsheets. DVA Factsheets provide information about DVA benefits and services. The fact sheets relevant to support for same-sex partners are:

- IS09 Relationship Status (clearly outlines policy on same sex relationships)

- DP60 War Widow`s and Orphan`s Pension (automatically entitled to the pension and eligible to apply)

The DVA website also provides access to additional support services such as the Benefits Guide and Entitlement self-assessment

Amending Service Records

Personnel who were involuntarily discharged prior to 1992 on the basis of their same-sex attraction can seek to have their discharge paperwork amended to reflect a voluntary discharge. Read more at Defence about how to amend your service records.

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