Reviews of allegations of abuse in the Defence Force

Parliament house flag post

Reviews of allegations of abuse in the Defence Force

Posted 26/09/2013 by Moira Coombs

In March 2011, an incident occurred at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in which it was alleged that an 18 year old female cadet was filmed without her consent while having sex with a male colleague, with the footage then sent using Skype to six other cadets watching in a nearby room. The ‘Skype incident’ at ADFA was the catalyst which generated a number of inquiries and various cultural reviews dealing with the management of ADFA.

 

Kirkham Review



The first review was conducted by Andrew Kirkham QC, a former senior air force officer and military law expert, who was requested by the then Vice Chief of the Defence Force to conduct an Inquiry into the management of the Skype incident and its aftermath. The report of the Kirkham Inquiry, provided to the Minister of Defence on 13 December 2011, was not published as it focussed on individual actions rather than organisational deficiencies or shortcomings and it included personal detail.

 

Culture Reviews


Further cultural reviews were carried out in addition to the Kirkham Inquiry. These reviews investigated various aspects of Defence culture and were intended to ‘address ongoing concern in relation to failure to meet appropriate standards of conduct.’ The reviews included:

Review of the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force Academy and Australian Defence Force 3 November 2011

Independent Advisory Panel on Alcohol – The use of Alcohol in the Australian Defence Force 2011

Review of Social Media and Defence 2011

Beyond compliance: professionalism, trust and capability in the Australian Profession of Arms 2011


Review of the management of Incidents and complaints in Defence including civil and military jurisdiction 2011

Review of Employment for APS women in the Department of Defence 2011

In response to the reviews, the then Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, together with the Secretary of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force jointly announced on 7 March 2012, ‘a strategy of cultural change and reinforcement in Defence and the Australian Defence Force’, entitled Pathway to Change: evolving Defence culture.

DLA Piper Review


After the Skype incident, a number of allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse emerged. The Secretary of the Department of Defence engaged DLA Piper (then DLA Phillips Fox) to review each allegation methodically and at arm’s length from Defence and to make recommendations for further action. The final report of Phase 1 of the review was delivered to the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith on 17 April 2012. Phase 1 assessed all allegations of abuse, to determine whether they had been properly managed and to recommend further action. Phase 2 will deal with Defence’s processes for responding to allegations and make appropriate recommendations concerning systemic issues. The Government response to the DLA Piper review agreed with all its recommendations and provided that the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce would be responsible for Phase 2.

 

Defence Abuse Response Taskforce


The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, chaired by Len Roberts-Smith, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of WA and former Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force, was established on 26 November 2012. Also on that day, the then Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, delivered an apology on ‘behalf of the Government to the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who have suffered sexual or other forms of abuse in the course of service to the Australian Defence Force and their country.’

The Taskforce will assess individual allegations of abuse occurring before 11 April 2011 and respond to those cases in order to determine an appropriate outcome. Possible outcomes include:
  
  • referral to counselling
  • a Reparation Payment of up to $50,000referral of appropriate matters to police or military justice authorities for formal criminal investigation and assessment for prosecution
  • referral to the Chief of the Defence Force for administrative action, and/or 
  • restorative engagement, possibly including apologies from senior Defence officer.

The deadline for reporting such abuse was 31 May 2013.

The work of the Taskforce involves three phases. Phase 1 relates to establishing the Taskforce, Phase 2 involves the operational aspects of the Taskforce’s work and Phase 3 is the conclusion and legacy issues of the Taskforce. The First Interim report of the Taskforce, submitted to the Minister for Defence and the Attorney-General on 14 March 2013, was concerned with Phase 1. A second interim report, released on 20 June 2013, is concerned with the transition to Phase 2.

The Taskforce has received more than 2400 complaints and about 100 of those had been immediately identified as suitable for payment of reparations, with that number expected to increase as the Taskforce’s work progressed. To date, 49 reparation payments have been made. Ten cases have been referred to police for investigation with more expected to follow. To date, cases have been referred to police in NSW, Tasmania, ACT, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. The period of operation of the Taskforce has been extended to 31 May 2014.

The Taskforce is also establishing protocols to share information with the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

Refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment indigenous Australians Sport illicit drugs gambling people trafficking taxation Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force higher education welfare policy United Nations health financing Asia Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget school education forced labour aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA income management Industrial Relations emissions trading dental health Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police people smuggling poker machines National Disability Insurance Scheme Australian Crime Commission 43rd Parliament slavery election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service constitution International Women's Day corruption Afghanistan Fair Work Act child protection Aviation debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure ALP New Zealand Newstart Parenting Payment Census politics High Court skilled migration voting mental health Federal Court terrorist groups Higher Education Loan Program HECS governance youth paid parental leave environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs Senate doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers Special Rapporteur UK Parliament Electoral reform political parties banking firearms public policy Population violence against women domestic violence China ADRV terrorism science research and development social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation accountability public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing by-election European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas family assistance planning Senators and Members United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs health reform Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing health system money laundering United Kingdom early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity transparency Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leadership Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration Australia Greens federal election 2010 servitude Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship human rights emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency productivity human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying asylum seekers Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits ANZUS qantas counselling

Show all
Show less
Back to top