Police Association of Victoria proposes provisional approval model for mental health injury claims



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Police Association Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt.

THE Police Association of Victoria is seeking to expedite help available to members who sustain a mental health injury.

Its efforts come after two police officers last month took their own lives, including Wangaratta “lovable larrikin”, Leading Senior Constable Gavin Frew.

Association secretary Wayne Gatt said it was important members got help the second they put their hands up and said it was needed.

“What we’re hoping to achieve is a system of provisional approval,” he said.

The proposal would see members provided with support and treatment for a limited period of time, before being called on to establish whether or not the injury was related to policing.

Under the existing system, members are required to prove their injury is work-related during the initial stages of the process.

“It doesn’t encourage help-seeking behaviour,” Mr Gatt said.

He said the nature of policing made it likely mental health injuries were related, directly or indirectly, to work.

Police officers are four to six times more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder than a member of the general public, the association secretary said.

Delays in assistance could affect the member’s capacity to return to active duty.

“With proper support, early intervention…