Bob "Gibbo" Gibson
Duty First ( D&E Platoon Rifleman -  Vietnam)

 Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Mailing List.

VA124   Thursday 16 August 2007




The Howard Government will undertake world-first research into the impact of war service on the health and welfare of the children of Vietnam veterans.


Announcing a $13.5 million research program, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Billson, said the Vietnam Veteran Family Study provides an innovative, integrated and holistic approach to the health of veterans’ families.

Australia is at the forefront of veteran health and compensation, but we have limited knowledge about the intergenerational effects of war service.  A study of this kind has never been done and Australia will lead the rest of the world in this field,” Mr Billson said.


“The Vietnam Veteran Family Study will study the health and welfare of around 200,000 parents and children participants to identify protective factors and those characteristics which help build resilience in families of veterans.


“This wide ranging study will also provide us with an insight into the health of children of Vietnam veterans, informing the delivery of services that will assist the families of future service personnel.


“The Vietnam Veteran Family Study will be undertaken in a tiered approach, involving qualitative and quantitative research over an eight year period, with some initial results available as early as 2009.”


Mr Billson said that yet again Vietnam veterans were the catalyst for innovation in veteran health.

“The now well-established legacy of Vietnam veterans is continuing through this extensive study program which will further enhance our world-class repatriation system,” Mr Billson said.


“Today the Australian Defence Force has an active Defence Community Organisation which provides a range of support programs for families, before, during and after deployment.  To support this work, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will also commence a study to monitor the health of families of more recently deployed veterans.

“The research program will provide useful information to inform government of the effectiveness of current programs and areas for further policy development.”


The Australian Government currently provides around $10 million a year for a range of services to children of Vietnam veterans, including mental health support through VVCS, medical support through the Vietnam Veterans Children’s Support Program and educational support through the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme and the Long Tan Bursary.


Media inquiries: Cameron Hill  0408 239 521

Editors note: Fact Sheet follows.

Fact Sheet

Vietnam Veteran Family Study

What will the study examine?


This study will examine the physical, mental, and social health of the families of Vietnam veterans.  It will involve both qualitative and quantitative research techniques to identify protective and risk factors.  It will provide a comprehensive picture of the health status of this group.  The study will also examine suicide rates amongst children of Vietnam veterans.


How many people will be studied?


The study will survey up to 200,000 people, including Vietnam veterans, their families and relevant comparison groups to enable adjustment for both genetics and war service.


How will the study be implemented?


The study will use a tiered approach to enable individual study components to be completed at different stages.  The first qualitative component of the study will be able to commence in the near future with results expected during 2009.


The first step prior to any additional data collection for the health study will be to compile a study roll and contact details of the participants.  This process will be commencing shortly and will enable additional study components to commence during 2010.


The tiered approach enables research to be conducted in manageable and achievable stages and results will be progressively available for dissemination.


How long till results are available?


The first results will be available during 2009 with results on other elements of study to be completed by 2016.


Who will undertake the study?


The Department will contract appropriately qualified and experienced research organisations to undertake the qualitative and quantitative studies.


Will all Vietnam veterans and their families be studied and will the Department register individuals for participation in the study?


No.  In line with sound scientific research approaches, the Department will develop a study roll from a randomized sample of Vietnam veterans.