TGB Military Compensation Lawyer, Tim White, says a report into abuse at HMAS Leeuwin, released by the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (DART), confirms that recruits were failed by the Australian Defence Force.
The DART inquiry looked into allegations of abuse at the naval base from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Mr White, who is assisting a number of HMAS Leeuwin abuse victims with their compensation claims, said some of his clients provided personal accounts to the report.
“We’ve been shocked by the many horrific sexual and physical abuse incidents that our clients were exposed to, along with their mates, while at HMAS Leeuwin,” Mr White said.
“The report confirms the Australian Defence Force culture of secrecy, shame and bullying prevented the alleged perpetrators from being exposed.
“We now trust that action will be taken for the victims, who have carried the burden of these horrible experiences for many years.”
Mr White said that while nothing can undo the damage, compensation and access to counselling can help with the healing process.
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“Many victims had to abandon their military careers and were left with permanent, physical and psychological scars which impacted the rest of their lives,” he said.
“It is important to remember that most of the recruits were teenagers who had their dreams and aspirations taken from them.”
A Royal Commission into abuse at HMAS Leeuwin has been mooted, which Tindall Gask Bentley would welcome.
“It would be a valuable part of the healing process for victims, give them a voice and provide much needed acknowledgement of the devastating impact,” Mr White said.
“Even today we have had calls from HMAS Leeuwin victims who weren’t included in the DART complaint process because they were not aware of its existence, so we believe there are many more victims out there.
“There may also be scope for victims to make a submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse but, with thousands of recruits going through HMAS Leeuwin over a few decades, we believe there is a case to have these matters handled separately.”
Tindall Gask Bentley is South Australia’s largest plaintiff law firm and assists past and current ADF members from all over the country with their compensation claims.
Download the report (18/6/14)
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.