Defence abuse taskforce to provide full report in October

THE taskforce, charged with investigating abuse in the Australian Defence Force, has released its terms of reference.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith late last year announced the establishment of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, which will examine hundreds of individual allegations of abuse in the ADF arising from the DLA Piper Review.

It will also have the ability to hear allegations not covered by DLA Piper.

The DLA Piper Review, which reported in April last year after a 12-month investigation, heard allegations of abuse from more than 1000 people dating back to the 1950s, with 775 of those found to be "plausible allegations of abuse".

Under the terms of reference the taskforce's assessment will also include the 24 cases of sexual abuse at the Australian Defence Force Academy as noted by DLA Piper and reports of violence and bullying at HMAS Leeuwin in the 1960s.

The taskforce, which is being chaired by Len Roberts-Smith, will be required to report to the Attorney-General and Defence Minister every three months on its progress. It can call for additional funding if required.

In October, the taskforce will be required to provide a full report, but can ask for additional time and funding if required.

Further, the taskforce has been asked to advise whether a royal commission is needed to investigate allegations raised in DLA Piper, in particular the 24 ADFA cases.

Mr Roberts-Smith said the taskforce leadership group met last week and was eager to work "quickly to ensure the work of the taskforce is effective and that we have a robust system in place to deal with the many complex issues raised".

"We want to ensure complainants receive the right outcome under our terms of reference," he said.

The Federal Government has established a free call hotline for people who want more information: 1800 424 991.

Topics:  abuse australian defence force

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