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Seeking Participants

This study is investigating why veterans become involved in the Australian Criminal Justice System (CJS). This includes understanding the types of offences they have committed, their needs in the community and in prison. We will investigate this through the exploration of veterans’ transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to civilian life to imprisonment. Our aim is to identify and understand the risk factors for veteran criminal offending in order to develop recommendations for the military and correctional services on strategies to enhance desistance from crime among that group. The study will take place in South Australia, Queensland and NSW. 
The project will draw upon the international social health and transition literature. A social transition approach considers veteran incarceration as an effect of “the interrelationship of economic, cultural and environmental factors and living and working conditions, including family life, education, employment, healthcare services, housing, lifestyle choices and biological factors” (DVA 2015). Deteriorations in mental health, the advent of substance abuse, occurrences of family violence and increased social isolation generally signify problems in navigating the aforementioned domains and thereby the transition from the military service to civilian life. The project is also informed by the literature which casts prisons and the military as total institutions and the idea that veterans might, paradoxically, find some “solace” in the para-military structure and regimes of prison life.


Deb jaggard.jpg

Examining the learning experiences during military to civilian transition.


Exploring and comparing what people were trained in and learned when they first enlisted in the military. Analyzing current education transition programs to identify any gaps in people's education through program analysis.
Currently undertaking studies part-time while working in management for veterans rehabilitation. 
For more information about Deb and her research, please get in touch with the link before.



Knowledge - Innovation - Impact

Our research is multidisciplinary, applied and theoretical and includes:

  • key service provision challenges (claims, case work, crisis care)

  • key policy challenges (including institutional abuse, veteran suicide or veterans in correction)

  • social, cultural and historical research on Defence and Veterans Affairs legislation, policy and service provision

  • clinical and cognitive psychological evidence and practice

  • new approaches for veterans with transition challenges, traumatic stress injuries and moral injury.

Open Door believes the best source of evidence on veteran issues are veterans.

We adopt a co-design approach that draws upon the lived experiences of veterans across the services. Our team includes veteran researchers and policy experts.


Higher Education as a transition pathway (2019) DVA Wadham, Takarangi $157,000

Are student veterans an equity group? (2020) NCSEHE Wadham, Takarangi


E-learning: Literature Review and Desktop Study (2020) DVA Lawn $148,093


An evaluation of clinicians’ and carers’ perspectives of collaboration, including an evaluation of the implementation of the “Practical Guide for Working with Carers of People with a Mental Illness” (2020) The Road Home

Does university improve veteran mental health? (2020) CEPSW CRG, Wadham, Takarangi 

Human-machine interfaces for detecting, monitoring and managing psychological stress. Nixon, Takarangi $150,000

Evaluation of the Wellbeing and Support Program (WASP) Pilot of complex community case management (2019-2021)

Improving the effectiveness of Cognitive Processing Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (2018) The Road Home Prabha Sheshadri Grant

Veterans in prison (2018-2020)

Adelaide University Waddell, Toole​

Institutional abuse and organisational reform in the ADF (2018-2021) ARC Discovery Wadham, Connor

$127,000 ($89900)

Family and Community

Veterans and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service (VVCS) group programs in partnership with Phoenix Australia (2020)

Literature review to inform the establishment of a policy framework to provide family support services (2020)

Vicarious trauma experiences of families and partners of veterans and ESFRs with PTSD (2020) The Road Home Lawn, Waddell

Veterans’ and ESFRs’ help-seeking from the family perspective (2020)


Experiences and needs of young volunteer firefighters involved in the 2019-2020 bushfires (2020) Bushfire Natural Hazards CRC​

Supporting the ongoing wellbeing and resilience of Australia's first responders following the 2019/20 bushfires (2020-2023) MRFF - APP1200850 Lawrence, Rikkers, Van Hooff, Lawn, Houghton

A history of repatriation in Australia (2019)

DVA, Payton

Serving in Silence? Australian LGBTI Military Service since 1945 (2018)

ARC Discovery Riseman, Robinson

Whom do we remember? Exploring Cultural Narratives of War and Migration (2019) Universities Australia-DAAD Australia-Germany Joint Co-operation Scheme Riseman, Hutchison

Maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing for young adult emergency service volunteers (2020)

Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre and Hospital Research Foundation

Taylor, Van Hooff, Lawn, Lawrence, Rikkers, Roberts, Delfabbro, McFarlane, Roberts, Ashe​

How can families improve help-seeking for veterans and emergency services first responders with current or emerging mental health needs? (2020)

The Road Home. The Colonel Susan Neuhaus CSC (Ret’d) Fellowship

Lawn, Lawrence, Van Hooff, Daraganova, Roberts Rikkers

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