Defence response to abuse allegations
10 June 2014
A number of recent media reports have created some confusion about the status of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce.
In order to inform discussion about this significant issue, it is important to establish the delineation between Defence and the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART).
The DART was established under the Attorney General's Department in 2012 to independently examine allegations and to provide appropriate outcomes for victims of abuse in the Australian Defence Force.
As an independent body, Defence has no authority over the DART, its members or its actions.
To date, the DART has referred eight so-called 'ADFA 24' matters to Defence which relate to still serving permanent members.
Not all of these matters are allegations of sexual assault.
Central to the Defence response is respect for the complainants' wishes and interests, a responsibility to do no further harm, and the requirement to provide procedural fairness.
Of the eight matters referred to Defence, not all of the complainants have agreed for Defence to contact them.
However, all 'ADFA 24' matters are being examined to determine what action may be taken.
Action of any kind against individuals, whether criminal or administrative, must be based on evidence.
As the Chief of the Defence Force has stated, Defence will take action against individuals where there is sufficient information to do so.
The Chief of the Defence Force has also called for anyone with information about these matters to come forward via the Defence website: http://www.defence.gov.au/ReportAbuse/
The Chief of the Defence Force's full interview with 4 Corners can be viewed at: http://myvio.tv/CDF interview
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999