Mapping Service and transition to Self Harm and Suicidaility

Ben Wadham, James Connor, Kellie Toole, Emma Thomas

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Military service is a unique form of employment. Civilians join the military, entering a contract of service with the state, and in doing so hand over many of their civilian liberties in the process. For many young Australians, joining the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is a great privilege, offering significant opportunities, excitement, and a chance to be involved in service of the nation. For many service personnel, the history of Australian military service is personified in the character of the Australian Digger who represents the highest standards of professionalism and proficiency.

The research in this report, however, shows that military service is not without its costs. The costs of service can be loss of life, physical and mental injury, and the challenge of re-entering society once service has concluded. Military personnel are aware of some of these potential costs and are willing to bear them. Military personnel are, however, less aware of other costs associated with the effects of transition into the military institution. These costs include profound resocialisation as a service member, service at home and abroad in a hierarchical and command-and-control organisation, the posting cycle, deployment, military institutional abuse, and negligible duty of care by the ADF and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationACT
PublisherRoyal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide
Commissioning bodyRoyal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide
Number of pages215
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-921241-60-4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2023


  • Military institutional abuse
  • martial masculinities
  • military exceptionalism
  • fraternal rituals
  • veteran well-being
  • veteran transition


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