Moral injury & military service: Problems and possibilities

Date & time

4–5pm 16 August 2016


PSYC G8, Psychology Building 39


Professor Tom Frame, Director, Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, UNSW

Australian uniformed personnel returning from recent operations abroad appear to have been affected morally by their experiences.

These unseen wounds are one of the unavoidable consequences of both the circumstances and the conflicts in which they are deployed. While some of those serving in previous conflicts (pre-1990) were deeply affected morally by their experience, it may be that the forms and features of contemporary Western culture, and the politically contested nature and specific character of recent operations (post-1990), have made uniformed men and women more susceptible to moral injury.

This presentation will outline the conclusions and recommendations of the first detailed Australian study of moral injury and its differentiation from post-traumatic stress disorder. 


Tom Frame joined the RAN College, HMAS Creswell, as a 16-year old junior entry cadet midshipman in January 1979. He served at sea and ashore, including a posting as Research Officer to the Chief of Naval Staff, and completed a PhD at UNSW Canberra. He resigned from the RAN to train for the Anglican ministry in 1993. After parish work in Australia and England he was Bishop to the Australian Defence Force (2001-2007) and then Director of St Mark’s National Theological Centre (2007-14).

He has been a Visiting Fellow in the School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University (2000-2003); Patron of the Armed Forces Federation of Australia (2002-06), a member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial (2004-07) and judged the inaugural Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History (2007).

A graduate of the Universities of NSW, Melbourne and Kent, he was appointed Director of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society (ACSACS) and Professor of History at UNSW Canberra in July 2014. He is also a Visiting Professor at Kings College London and Arizona State University as part of the PLuS Alliance established in February 2016.

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