Do­mes­tic ca­su­al­ties

Sol­diers’ spouses silent vic­tims of PTSD scourge

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LAU­REN WIL­SON

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

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