Injured People

Australian defence force member abuse inquiry update

Military compensation lawyer Tim White provides an update about a pending government response into alleged abuse in the Australian Defence Force.


On 14 June 2012, Defence Minister Stephen Smith released the Executive Summary of Volume One of the report into allegations of sexual and other abuse in the ADF. Just under a month later, the entire Volume One was released and the Government said a response would be announced “in the near future”.

To re-cap, the report included 775 allegations of abuse within the ADF across all services. The earliest date of alleged abuse was 1951 while the most recent was 2011. Recommendations were made within the report as to how victims should be acknowledged. Several options were suggested such as establishing a Royal Commission, a victim compensation fund and a forum to formally apologise to victims.

On 10 October 2012, a response of sorts was announced whereby the Government indicated they are now referring the report to the Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee. Essentially, the Committee will inquire into the report and the response of the Government to the report as per the terms of reference. The terms of reference for the Committee can be found here. The Committee is required to analyse written submissions from organisations and agencies (rather than individuals) and report back by 1 March 2013.

Although it is positive to see the findings contained within this report are not being swept under the carpet, I have concerns that there is now going to be a second lengthy inquiry into the matter. Is this really necessary? For former and current members of the Australian Defence Force who have already put submissions forward, this is not sufficient enough action for them. For the long suffering victims, the waiting game continues.

In the interim, I encourage former and current ADF members who have been subjected to abuse during service and have suffered physical or psychological injuries, to lodge an injury claim form with the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is important they are notified of your claim. You may then have an entitlement to payment of your reasonable medical costs, income maintenance and a permanent impairment payment, depending on the severity of injury.

For those who want to claim for conditions related to service pre 30 June 2004, the relevant legislation is the Safety and Rehabilitation Act 1988. For those who want to claim for conditions related to service post 1 July 2004, the relevant legislation is the Military Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2004. Click here to access the necessary claim forms.

For more information about defence force compensation click here

To register your compensation claim online, click here

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.

If you need help securing your entitlements, register online here and we’ll contact you, or get in touch with Tim on 1800 730 842 or via twhite@tgb.com.au.