Defence Force abuse report: let the good work continue

Hundreds of victims are still waiting for justice and closure, says the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce final report. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has been nominated to take over.

So numerous and serious were the credible complaints to the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce that the long-awaited final report released today has called for a royal commission into cases at the training institution ADFA, and for complaint investigations and victim follow-up to continue after the terms of the chair and leadership group expire this month.

More than 2400 people, men and women, uniformed and civilian APS, came forward with complaints of abuse, often sexual, degrading and relentless, while working for Defence.

Taskforce chair Len Roberts-Smith QC said it was clear that unique cultures of abuse “thrived” in each uniformed service and were passed down between generations or learned by people who suffered abuse themselves:

“It is impossible to read or listen to the personal accounts that have been included in this report without being affected. On behalf of the Taskforce, I would like to thank all those who have come forward to the Taskforce. Each person who has broken their silence about the abuse they suffered has made an important contribution to Defence’s ongoing efforts to achieve cultural change.”

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