ADFA 24 – The facts
31 October 2014
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) rejects any assertion that it has not acted in response to historical allegations of abuse at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).
The so-called ADFA 24 refers to 24 serious allegations of physical, indecent and sexual assault from 19 alleged victims identified in the 1998 Grey Review and later referred to in 2011 in the DLA Piper Report (Vol 1). The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce's (DART) ADFA 24 referral to Defence was primarily based on analysis of historical records rather than individual complaints.
ADFA 24 involves 19 cases. The DART recommended no further action for six of these cases where it assessed they were managed appropriately at the time, the alleged perpetrators are unknown or unnamed, or there was no clear allegation of sexual assault. Importantly, in a number of cases, the DART did not recommend further action in line with the complainants’ express wishes.
Of the 13 remaining cases:
• 2 have been referred to the relevant Service Chief to consider possible action;
• 2 remain under consideration pending receipt of court or police records;
• 8 have been considered and no further action can be taken at this time because there is insufficient evidence to proceed; and
• 1 was not pursued in accordance with the complainant's wishes.
Central to Defence's response is respect for the complainants' wishes and interests, a responsibility to do no further harm and the requirement to provide procedural fairness. Only five complainants have agreed to work with Defence.
The Chief of the Defence Force and the Service Chiefs are bound by the application of legal and administrative standards of proof. Adverse action of any kind against individuals must be based on evidence that satisfies the required standard of proof.
The ADF accepts that ADFA has not always provided an environment where all members were safe from sexual, physical and mental abuse. This is not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable for the reprehensible actions of some to taint the reputation, success and the achievements of the thousands of exemplary young men and women who have graduated from ADFA.
Addressing historical allegations of abuse in Defence is a difficult and complex issue affecting the lives of thousands of people. Defence is focused on supporting the victims of abuse and anyone with information about these matters is urged to come forward via the Defence website: http://www.defence.gov.au/ReportAbuse/