TGB Military Compensation Lawyer, Tim White, outlines how Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART) claims are likely to proceed in the post DART era.
With a substantial amount of claims now finalised, the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART) is winding down to a conclusion. Currently, the DART remains operational only to a limited extent as is continues to assess complaints of sexual abuse on women at ADFA (Australian Defence Force Academy) between 1991 and 1998 (registration of complaints of this nature closed in September 2015) as well as continuing to support those referred for Defence Abuse Counselling and Restorative Engagement Programs.
In their Update on Outcome delivery paper of 21 April 2015, the DART indicated they had made 1,590 final decisions awarding reparation payments to complainants which equated to $62.14 million. 85 complaints had been referred to State and Territory police comprising 127 possible offences. 236 matters had been referred to the Chief of Defence for Disciplinary/Administrative action and 198 Restorative Engagement conferences had been held.
TGB assisted 20 military abuse complainants through the DART process with claims alleging physical assaults (including sexual assault), false imprisonment, bullying and harassment. Although no amount of money would ever be enough to resolve what an individual had experienced, many of our clients expressed satisfaction at ‘finally’ receiving an acknowledgement of what had happened to them whilst members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
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If you pursued a military abuse claim through the DART process and received a reparation payment, you are not prevented from now pursuing a claim for compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). The criteria used by the DVA to assess a compensation claim however is different to that applied by the DART so it is important to obtain legal advice before submitting a claim.
In order for the DVA to accept a claim under SRCA (Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988) and MRCA (Military, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004), there needs to be a connection to military service that is, that the injury (physical/psychological or both) arose out of employment with the ADF.
When a claim for injury has been accepted by the DVA, a range of entitlements flow, namely, incapacity payments if deemed incapacitated for work due to the service related injury, payment of reasonable medical expenses, access to rehabilitation and domestic services and a potential lump sum payment for the injury.
Get in Touch!
To discuss anything in this article, or if you believe you may be eligible for military compensation and would like help with your compensation claim, please contact TGB partner Tim White. Tim is a member of the Royal Australian Airforce Reserves, and specialises in military compensation claims.
Tim and his team advise Defence Force members and veterans across Australia on their entitlement to military compensation.