Referral of inquiry and terms of reference
On 10 October 2012, the Senate referred matters relating to the
report of the review of allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence,
conducted by DLA Piper, and the response of the government to the report, to
the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and
report by 1 March 2013.
On 28 February 2013, the Senate granted an extension to the reporting
date to 16 May 2013.
A further extension was granted by the Senate to 27 June 2013.
The terms of reference for the inquiry are as follows:
The report of the
review of allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence, conducted by DLA
Piper, and the response of the Government to the report, including:
(a) the accessibility and adequacy of
current mechanisms to provide support to victims of sexual and other abuse in
(b) whether an alternative expedited
and streamlined system for the resolution of disputes relating to the support,
rehabilitation, treatment and compensation of victims in Defence be considered
and established, and the constitutionality of such an alternative system;
(c) the effectiveness and timeliness
of the Government's processes for assessing, investigating and responding to
allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse, including:
(i) whether a dedicated victims
advocacy service ought to be established,
(ii) systemic and cultural issues in
reporting and investigating sexual and other forms of abuse, and
(iii) whether data and information
collection and dissemination of data and information in relation to sexual and
other forms of abuse in Defence is adequately maintained and appropriately acted
upon and, if not, any alternative mechanisms that could be established; and
(d) any related matters.
Conduct of inquiry
The committee advertised its inquiry on its website, and in The
Australian, calling for submissions to be lodged by 22 November 2012. The
committee also wrote directly to a range of people and organisations likely to
have an interest in matters covered by the terms of reference, drawing their
attention to the inquiry and inviting them to make written submissions.
At the outset of the inquiry, the committee indicated, on its website
and in its correspondence, it was not in a position to resolve individual
disputes or settle complaints about alleged abuse in Defence. The committee emphasised
that its overarching concern in addressing the terms of reference was to
develop recommendations for improving the way in which Defence and the
Government manage and respond to allegations, such as those raised in the
report of the DLA Piper Review. Despite this notification, several submissions
received by the committee raised, or focused on, individual complaints or
The committee received 25 submissions to the inquiry, some of which
were accepted as confidential submissions. Submissions are listed at Appendix
1 and public submissions are available on the committee's website at: www.aph.gov.au/senate_fadt.
On 14 March 2013, the committee held a public hearing for the inquiry at
Parliament House in Canberra. A list of the witnesses who appeared at the
hearing is at Appendix 2, and the Hansard transcript is also
available through the committee's website. Additional information, tabled
documents and answers to questions on notice received during the inquiry are listed
in Appendix 3.
On 7 June 2013, the committee received a private briefing at Parliament
House in Canberra from the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce on its activities.
Structure of the report
The committee's report is structured as follows:
- Chapter 2 provides a background to the inquiry and summarises the
key features of the DLA Piper Review reports and the government's
- Chapter 3 deals with the mechanisms to support victims of alleged
abuse in Defence;
- Chapter 4 addresses reparation and compensation issues;
- Chapter 5 deals with the processes for responding to allegations
of abuse, including: the need for a dedicated victim's advocacy service;
systemic and cultural issues in reporting abuse; and data and information
collection concerning abuse;
- Chapter 6 addresses other related issues which were raised during
the inquiry; and
- Chapter 7 contains the committee's view and recommendations.
The committee thanks all those who contributed to the inquiry by making
submissions, providing additional information or appearing at the public
hearing to give evidence.
Note on references
References to the committee Hansard are to the official Hansard.
Page numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard
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