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VSA Overview

About Veteran Sport Australia

Sport is a rewarding part of life for many Australians, but for our veteran community it can be so much more.  

As a national program, Veteran Sport Australia works as a peak body to develop a strong and connected system of sporting programs and opportunities for veterans and their families. We aim to unlock many of the 70,000 sport clubs across 97 recognised sports in AustraliaVeteran Sport Australia is also a program that recognises the great work already happening in pockets around the country and seeks to enhance their value and reach.  

 At Veteran Sport Australia we:  

  • Partner with national sporting organisations and peak bodies to open up opportunities, break down barriers and roll out initiatives tailored to veterans and their families 
  • Have a presence in local communities, with Veteran Sport Australia representatives working alongside other organisations on the ground to help veterans of all abilities take advantage of opportunities 
  • Work with the Australian Defence Force to deliver the national ADF Adaptive Sport Program for veterans who are wounded, injured or ill – including supporting the Australian Invictus Games and Warrior Games teams 
  • Advocate for the important role that sport can play in the lives of veterans and their families 

Why is this important?  

Sport is a proactive means of addressing current health concerns or preventing them in the future. Everyone can improve their lives by being involved with sport. 

We know the healing power of sport for veterans and their families through events such as the Invictus Games, but we also know that community sport is equally as important to regularly engage with.  

Anyone who has served one day of full-time service in the Australian Defence Force is considered a veteran. Since federation, more than two million Australians have served in the ADF. Significantly: 

  • It is estimated there are 600,000 veterans in Australia.1 This includes approximately 70,000 veterans who are currently serving or are reservists.2 
  • The median length of service of permanent ADF members is currently 8.7 years and the mean is less than 8 years.3
  • Each year, around 6,000 veterans transition out of the ADF and into the civilian world.4 Of those transitioning, around 18% discharge for medical reasons.5
  • An estimated 46% of ADF members who had transitioned from full-time service within the past five years met 12-month diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder using a structured diagnostic interview.6
  • 3 in 4 recently transitioned ADF personnel have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime.7
  • Half of people who have served in the ADF have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime.8
  • More than 1 in 5 recently transitioned ADF members report suicide ideation, plans or attempts.9
  • Male ex-service personnel under 30 years old are twice as likely to die by suicide compared to men of the same age.10
  • The suicide rate for all male ex-service personnel is 18% higher than the rate for Australian men.11
  • The age-adjusted rate of suicide, when compared to the Australian population, is 2.15 times higher for ex-serving women.12

 

  • [1] Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, ‘A Better Way to Support Veterans’, Volume 1, No.93, 27 June 2019, p.7.
  • [2] Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, ‘A Better Way to Support Veterans’, Volume 1, No.93, 27 June 2019, p.7.
  • [3] Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, ‘A Better Way to Support Veterans’, Volume 1, No.93, 27 June 2019, p.31.
  • [4] Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, ‘A Better Way to Support Veterans’, Overview & Recommendations, No.93, 27 June 2019, p.30.
  • [5] Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, Overview & Recommendations, p.7.
  • [6] Van Hooff M, Lawrence-Wood E, Hodson S, Sadler N, Benassi H, Hansen C, Grace B, Avery J, Searle A, Iannos M, Abraham M, Baur J, McFarlane A, 2018, Mental Health Prevalence, Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study, the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, p.iv.
  • [7] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘A profile of Australia’s veterans 2018’, p.48.
  • [8] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘A profile of Australia’s veterans 2018’, p.47.
  • [9] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘A profile of Australia’s veterans 2018’, p.41.
  • [10] Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, Overview & Recommendations, p.34.
  • [11] Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, ‘A Better Way to Support Veterans’, Volume 1, No.93, 27 June 2019, p.34.
  • [12] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘National suicide monitoring of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel: 2019 update’, 29 November 2019, p.13.