Massive Suicide Rate for Vietnam Veterans’ Children
Media Release - 7 August 2000
Today, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Hon Bruce Scott
released the long-awaited report into the incidence of suicide in
children of Vietnam Veterans. The report confirms that children
of Vietnam veterans have three times the suicide rate of
the general community.
The government responded in the May 2000 Budget after it was
established in an earlier report released in December 1999 that
rates of death by accident and suicide in children of Vietnam
veterans were significantly elevated when compared with other
Australians. The response included a 32.3 million dollar package
over four years to expand existing programs and to provide
additional support services mainly through the Vietnam Veterans
The National President of the Vietnam Veterans Association of
Australia, Mr Brian McKenzie said today, that veterans and their
families should fully utilise those support services and programs
available through the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service and
the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
'We were pleased with the budget response but unfortunately
the legislation to implement those support services for children
is now bogged down in Federal Parliament because it accompanied
other legislation that has been referred to the Senate Foreign
Affairs Defence and Trade Committee'.
Our community is ready and willing to work with the government
in a partnership arrangement to assist our kids.” Mr McKenzie
A comparison between successive birth cohorts by age at death
indicates that the high numbers of suicides would continue for a
number of years if the pattern of previous cohorts were followed.
This is because almost all of the veterans' children are
presently passing through ages at high risk of suicide.
Mr McKenzie said that it is critical that the Legislation to
implement these services and programs is passed as a matter of
urgency. "It is simply too important to be delayed.”