Soldiers’ spouses silent victims of PTSD scourge
MILITARY spouses have criticised the Government for not doing enough to help them cope with dangerous and violent outbursts from their soldier husbands who are battling post- traumatic stress.
Many partners and wives of Australia’s war heroes have become silent victims of domestic violence, hiding angry and violent outbursts because they feel beholden to support their partners who have made sacrifices for their country.
The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia has told a Senate inquiry into the mental health of ADF personnel that more needs to be done to protect military spouses and children from domestic violence.
“What we have consistently found is partners/ spouses of veterans with mental health issues are confronted with outbursts of anger, threatening behaviour and even violence,” the organisation’s submission says.
“Fearing the worst outcome for their veteran, spouses and partners may well hide these episodes, as to ask for help would bring ‘ things out in the open’, and create more issues for the family as a whole,” it says.
The organisation’s president Narelle Bromhead wants wives and partners to be able to access the crisis accommodation that is currently available to members of the military through the veterans’ counselling services.
Ms Bromhead said the existing crisis accommodation service was under- utilised and it would be a cost- effective way to take military wives and partners out of the immediate danger of domestic violence, and link them to support services.
She said military wives and spouses who became victims of domestic violence often struggled to find the courage to discuss the problem with people or professionals outside of the defence forces because they knew their partner’s behaviour has changed because of the trauma of war.
“I am of the opinion that no veteran’s wife should have to go to a ( domestic violence) refuge,” she said.
“It’s not fair when their partner is suffering from an illness that has been brought on by service to the country.”
I am of the opinion that no veteran’s wife should have to go to a refuge. NARELLE BROMHEAD