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Defence Health

Mental Health Programs

Military and Veteran Research Study Roll
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Military and Veteran Research Study Roll?

The health and wellbeing of serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, veterans and their families are important to the Department of Defence (Defence) and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA). This is why Defence and DVA are constantly looking to improve our understanding about military health and wellbeing issues through research. In order to invite individuals to participate in research, Defence and DVA have created a list of current contact details to enable researchers to get in touch with serving and ex-serving members - the Military and Veteran Research Study Roll (Study Roll).

If you are invited to participate in research associated with this Study Roll, your participation is completely voluntary. In addition, you can withdraw your consent to participate in such research at any time without detriment to your career or future medical care.

How did my contact details get on the Study Roll?

If you are a current serving member, including in the Reserves, your contact details were extracted from PMKeyS and provided to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). If you are an ex-serving member, your contact details were provided by Defence, DVA or ComSuper to AIHW. As the majority of ex-serving personnel may not be DVA clients, the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) agreed to provide military superannuation data (name, contact details and service number only) via ComSuper to AIHW for those who have transitioned from the ADF between 2010 and 2014, for the purpose of obtaining current contact details.

No sensitive information was provided, in accordance with the Guidelines under section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988 issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Other information, including service history, has been obtained from PMKeyS and will only be linked to your identifying data with your explicit consent.

What information about me will be stored on the Study Roll?

Your name, contact details and some of your basic service information and history has been provided to AIHW, an authorised Commonwealth data integration authority. To ensure your privacy, contact information will be stored separately from service history information and can only be linked with your explicit consent using a data linkage key held by AIHW. De-identified demographic information may be used to describe the total population for research studies.

If you participated in the Military Health Outcomes Program (MilHOP) between 2010 and 2012, details about which parts of the research you took part in will be included in the Study Roll. Your identified survey and interview results will not be included in the Study Roll and can only be accessed by researchers with your explicit consent.

How will my information be used?

The purpose of the Study Roll is to develop a database of potential participants for health research studies for the military and veteran community. Individuals on the Study Roll may be contacted by approved researchers to invite them to participate in research studies.

Who will have access to my information?

Your information will be securely held at AIHW and only staff with appropriate security clearances and employed by AIHW will have access to the data. If you agree to be on the Study Roll, your contact information (name, email and address) may be provided to researchers conducting Defence and/or DVA approved research projects. Only those researchers who have received both organisational and ethical approval from DVA and Defence will be allowed to access the data.

Is this a breach of my privacy?

Private information cannot be used for a purpose other than what it was collected for and without the consent of the individual. However, there are exceptions which allow the use or disclosure of records containing personal information for research purposes without breaching the legislation, if the research has been approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee in accordance with the Guidelines under section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988 issued by the NHRMC.

The DVA Human Research Ethics Committee (DVA HREC) approved, in accordance with the Guidelines under section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988, the disclosure and use of details of current and ex-serving ADF members to the AIHW for the purpose of this research. Defence accepted the ethical review of the DVA HREC.

DVA and Defence recognise that individuals on the Study Roll may not want their details to be released to researchers. Therefore, you are able to opt out from your details being released to researchers by following the instructions provided below.

How will my privacy be maintained?

Your records will be stored and protected in accordance with the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF) and managed in accordance with Australian Government records management requirements. Data stored by the AIHW is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 and the AIHW Act 1987. In addition, AIHW have formal Guidelines for the Custody of Institute Data (AIHW 2003) as further measures to ensure data protection. AIHW also has various security policies to ensure confidentiality and protect data from being accessed or released inappropriately.

Please note that your contact information and service history information will be stored separately and only linked with your explicit consent. For more information regarding how your privacy will be maintained, please see AIHW's Information Security and Privacy Policy Procedures (http://www.aihw.gov.au/privacy/).

Where will my information be stored and will my information remain secure?

In accordance with AIHW guidelines and relevant legislation, AIHW will ensure that your information is stored securely by:

  • having password protected access to computer networks and system monitoring;
  • providing physical security of AIHW premises against unauthorised access (entry via electronically controlled individually coded access cards);
  • using secure data storage in fire-rated containers;
  • adhering to Guidelines regarding storage of sensitive information; and
  • recording of all AIHW information systems when accessed which is reviewed to ensure adherence to security protocols.
For more information, please see AIHW's Information Security and Privacy Policy Procedures (http://www.aihw.gov.au/privacy/).

My information in PMKeyS is not up to date. How can I add my new details to the Study Roll?

If you believe your details are out of date and would like to participate in research related to the Study Roll, you can add your correct details to the Study Roll. You can do so by registering your interest to participate in the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme at www.transitionwellbeing.adelaide.edu.au. Once this research is complete, the University of Adelaide, with your consent, will provide your contact details to AIHW. Please note that you will need to contact Defence or DVA directly to update departmental records.

How can I stop my contact details being provided to researchers now or in the future?

Participation is entirely voluntary and there is no obligation to participate in the Study Roll. If you do not want to have your contact details released to researchers, send an email to optout.studyroll@defence.gov.au with your full name, date of birth and PMKeyS number in the body of the email and 'OPT OUT' in the subject line.

Your decision to opt out will not affect your career and/or any pension, benefits or health services you are entitled to from DVA or Defence, or to which you may become entitled to in the future. If you wish, you can discontinue your participation at any time with no detriment to your career or future medical care.

Will opting out stop me from being contacted for research in the future?

Only research that is endorsed by DVA and Defence can use the Study Roll. If you choose to opt out of the Study Roll, you may still be contacted by researchers undertaking research that is not endorsed by DVA or Defence, or departmental research that does not use the Study Roll.

I want to opt out but can't remember my PMKeyS number - what should I do? We require your PMKeyS number to make sure we update the correct information from the Study Roll. If you cannot recall your PMKeyS number, please send an email to optout.studyroll@defence.gov.au with your full name, date of birth and any other relevant information.

What is the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme?

The Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme is the largest and most comprehensive study undertaken in Australia to examine the impact of military service on the health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families. This Programme is a collaboration between DVA, Defence and six of Australia's leading research institutions, including the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies (CTSS) at the University of Adelaide and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). This Programme was the first to use the Study Roll as a means to invite current and former ADF members to participate in health research.

For further information regarding the Programme, or to register your interest to participate in the Programme, please visit www.transitionwellbeing.adelaide.edu.au.

How long will my information be stored on the Study Roll?

Your data will be held on the Study Roll for a minimum of seven years from March 2015, in accordance with the Archives Act 1983.

What are the benefits and risks involved?

The Study Roll is intended to facilitate research into the physical and mental health of ADF members and veterans. This research will inform the development of Defence and DVA policy and programs that will benefit potential participants. By using the Study Roll, DVA and Defence hopes to minimise the risk of survey fatigue among future respondents by being able to identify those previously approached for recruitment in health research.

The Study Roll will be managed by AIHW (an accredited data integrator), thus ensuring the protection of privacy for serving and ex-serving members. There is little risk of physical or emotional stress of participating in the Study Roll, as only your contact details will be released to approved researchers. You may be contacted for the purposes of inviting you to participate in research and your participation in the research itself is entirely voluntary. You can discontinue your participation at any time without detriment to your career or future medical care.

How can I make a complaint regarding the Study Roll?

If you would like to make a complaint regarding the Study Roll, please contact any of the following:

DVA Human Research Ethics Committee
Email: ethics.committee@dva.gov.au
Telephone: (02) 6225 4659

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Ethics Committee
Email: ethicssec@aihw.gov.au
Telephone: (02) 6249 5004

Director, Defence Health Research
Email: human.research@defence.gov.au
Telephone: 0477 330 020

26 May, 2015