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Defence Abuse Response Taskforce—Seventh interim report to the Attorney-General and Minister for Defence—September 2014


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Defence Abuse Response Taskforce

Seventh Interim Report to the Attorney-General and Minister for Defence

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 4

Defence Abuse Response Taskforce

Seventh Interim Report to the Attorney-General and Minister for Defence

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 4

ISBN: 978-1-925118-44-5

© Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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i

DEFENCE ABUSE RESPONSE TASKFORCE

3 September 2014

Senator the Hon George Brandis QC Attorney-General PO Box 6100 Senate Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Senator the Hon David Johnston Minister for Defence PO Box 6100 Senate Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Attorney-General and Minister

I am pleased to present the Seventh Interim Report by the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, in accordance with the Taskforce Terms of Reference issued in November 2012. This Report provides an update on the progress that the Taskforce had made in assessing and responding to complaints of abuse in Defence.

Yours sincerely

The Honourable Len Roberts-Smith RFD, QC Chair Defence Abuse Response Taskforce

i i i C o n t e n t s

Contents

FOREWORD 1

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4

2. TASKFORCE OVERVIEW 6

2.1 Background to the t askforce 6

2.2 Role of the t askforce and scope of work 7

2.3 Key t askforce milestones 8

3. ONGOING COMPLAINANT SUPPORT 9

3.1 support provided to complainants 9

3.2 Contact with complainants to date 10

3.3 Feedback from complainants 10

4. ASSESSMENT PROCESS 11

4.1 scope and plausibility 11

4.2 Unactionable complaints 12

4.3 Reconsideration of decision 12

5. OUTCOMES AVAILABLE TO COMPLAINANTS 13

5.1 Defence Abuse Counselling Program 13

5.2 Defence Abuse Reparation scheme 14

5.3 Defence Abuse Restorative engagement Program 16

(a) overview 16

(b) Delivery of the Program 17

(c) Conferences 18

(d) Defence Representatives 19

(e) Facilitators 20

5.4 Referral to Commonwealth, state and t erritory police agencies 22

5.5 Referral to Defence for administrative or disciplinary action 23

6. BEHIND THE SCENES 24

6.1 Delivering Results 24

6.2 Governance 24

6.3 engagement with Defence 25

(a) on the Restorative engagement Program 25

(b) on Requests for Information 25

(c) on sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990s 26

6.4 engagement with the Australian Defence Force Investigative service 27

6.5 engagement with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs 27

6.6 engagement with police services 28

6.7 engagement with the senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and t rade References Committee 28 6.8 Psychological support t eam 29

6.9 operations Group 29

6.10 taskforce Funding 30

SEVENTH INTERIM REPORT TO THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR DEFENCE | SEPTEMBER 2014 i v

7. SYSTEMIC ISSUES 31

7.1 systemic reporting 31

(a) the HMAs Leeuwin Report 31

(b) the ADFA Report 32

(c) the Final Report 32

7.2 statistical information 32

(a) type of abuse 33

(b) Mismanagement 33

(c) Location of abuse 33

(d) Complainants 33

8. CONCLUSION 34

APPENDIX A: TASKFORCE TERMS OF REFERENCE 35

APPENDIX B: KEY MEETINGS UNDERTAKEN BY THE CHAIR OF THE TASKFORCE 37

APPENDIX C: FEEDBACK FROM COMPLAINANTS 38

APPENDIX D: ‘ADFA 24’ CHRONOLOGY 40

APPENDIX E: TASKFORCE SUBMISSION TO THE SENATE COMMITTEE 42

Fo R e w o R D 1

Foreword

Since the Sixth Interim Report was tabled in Parliament, Defence had seen a change of leadership. On behalf of the Taskforce, I would like to congratulate Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC on his appointment as Chief of the Defence Force (CDF).

The Sixth Interim Report was tabled alongside the Taskforce’s landmark Report on abuse at HMAS Leeuwin (HMAS Leeuwin Report). With the release of the HMAS Leeuwin Report, the Taskforce provided the Government, Defence and the Australian public with a detailed account for the public record of the nature and impact of the abuse that took place at HMAS Leeuwin, as well as the factors that contributed to it.

The Taskforce has received a great deal of feedback on the HMAS Leeuwin Report and our work in general. A brief selection of this feedback is provided in this Report at Appendix C. All feedback received from complainants is carefully considered by the Taskforce.

The HMAS Leeuwin Report was made possible due to the courage shown by all those complainants who shared their stories with the Taskforce. More than 200 former Junior Recruits made complaints of abuse at HMAS Leeuwin. Many had never before spoken about the abuse they experienced.

I would like to take this opportunity to once more express my admiration and gratitude to these complainants —and all others who have broken their silence to report the abuse they experienced while working for Defence.

The Taskforce understands that many complainants who came to the Taskforce to register complaints were motivated by the desire to contribute to Defence’s work towards achieving cultural change.

I am pleased to advise that the then Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, has publicly committed to ensuring that the HMAS Leeuwin Report is used as a resource on all of the Navy’s promotion and leadership courses. A copy of the HMAS Leeuwin Report has also been provided to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and, on 24 June 2014, I met with the Chief Royal Commissioner, Justice Peter McClellan AM, QC to discuss its contents.

The HMAS Leeuwin Report demonstrates that the Taskforce holds information of value and relevance to Defence’s Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture program. This is why the Taskforce has committed to preparing a report outlining the statistical information and systemic issues arising from the material received from complainants. This report will include detailed information about complaints of abuse arising at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

The Taskforce Terms of Reference specifically refer to ‘24 [ADFA] cases noted by DLA Piper’ which are a group of allegations of sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990s. I have previously explained the work that had been undertaken in relation to this cluster of cases. However, it is worth briefly reiterating to clarify the next steps that can be taken in relation to these cases.

The Taskforce has conducted a thorough analysis of all available information held by Defence on the this cluster of cases.

On 16 October 2013, the Taskforce provided its analysis to the former CDF, General David Hurley AC, DSC. This analysis included recommendations in relation to specific cases, where it appeared that it was open to Defence to take administrative, disciplinary or other action against alleged abusers or individuals involved in the management of complaints of abuse who are still serving in Defence.

SEVENTH INTERIM REPORT TO THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR DEFENCE | SEPTEMBER 2014 2

The Taskforce had never had the investigative power or authority to take direct action against Defence members. It has always been the case that these matters would be referred back to Defence to take action. I made this clear in November 2012 when I advised Defence to take whatever action it would ordinarily take in relation to these cases without waiting for the Taskforce to consider the cases. A chronology of the key actions undertaken in relation to the so-called ‘ADFA 24’ is at Appendix D.

I understand that the former CDF was briefed by the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) on these cases in October 2012. This briefing included the names of victims and alleged perpetrators. I have asked that Defence keep me apprised of their investigation, which I understand had been progressing independently of the Taskforce reviewing the cases.

The Taskforce is continuing to focus on finalising individual complaints relating to abuse alleged to have occurred at ADFA, both from complainants who allege sexual abuse occurring at ADFA in the mid-1990s and from complainants who made allegations of abuse occurring at ADFA during other time periods.

In the Sixth Interim Report, the Taskforce stated that seven people whose allegations form part of the ‘24 ADFA cases’ had come forward and made complaints. The Taskforce has now received complaints from 11 women who allege that they experienced sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990s. The Taskforce has been contacted by an additional three women who allege that they experienced sexual abuse at ADFA during the same period of time as this cluster of cases (1991—1998) and are considering whether they will make a complaint. The Taskforce will continue to accept complaints from these women and any other woman who experienced sexual abuse at ADFA during this time period. We are able to do this only because of the uncertainty of what cases actually comprised the so-called ‘ADFA 24’.

In total, the Taskforce has received 72 complaints relating to abuse alleged to have occurred at ADFA. The assessment of the vast majority of these complaints is complete.

The Taskforce will produce a de-identified public report regarding abuse alleged to have occurred at ADFA, including cases of sexual abuse occurring at ADFA in the mid-1990s, later this year.

In addition to this detailed parliamentary reporting, the Taskforce has also assisted the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee (Senate Committee) in its consideration of the Taskforce’s work.

With the agreement of the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General’s Office, the Taskforce has provided the Senate Committee with access to Volume 2 of the DLA Piper Review. Volume 2 of the DLA Piper Review contains sensitive, personal information and recommendations about specific individual’s cases. The Taskforce put in place strict conditions to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the individuals who made complaints to DLA Piper.

The Senate Committee received 23 submissions including a submission from the Taskforce (Appendix E). On 13 August 2014, I appeared before the Senate Committee, along with the Taskforce’s Executive Director. However, the Senate Committee’s report will not be available until after this Report had been finalised. The Taskforce will respond to this report when it is released.

The Taskforce continues to focus on delivering outcomes in response to individual complaints of abuse in Defence occurring before 11 April 2011. This Report provides an update on the progress that had been made in delivering these outcomes.

As at 11 August 2014, 48 Restorative Engagement Conferences had taken place (including one follow-up (Conference). The independent Reparation Payments Assessor had made 878 Reparation Payments, totalling in excess of $36 million.

Fo R e w o R D 3

As at that date, I had approved more than 2361 counselling sessions for complainants under the national Defence Abuse Counselling Program, of which 917 had already taken place.

As at 11 August 2014, 73 cases had been referred to State and Territory police for assessment and consideration of criminal investigation or prosecution. The Taskforce had also referred 22 matters to the CDF for consideration of administrative or disciplinary action.

This Report demonstrates that the Taskforce has designed innovative programs underpinned by robust procedures to allow for the delivery of outcomes to complainants. These programs are well-placed to continue to provide outcomes to complainants beyond 30 November 2014.

As is required under the Terms of Reference, the Taskforce will advise the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General on whether, and in what form, the Taskforce should continue after 30 November 2014. The Taskforce is actively considering these ‘legacy issues’ and will advise the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General in due course.

Finally, on 30 June 2014, I advised the Minister for Defence and the Attorney-General that I am not able to accept a further extension of my appointment as Chair of the Taskforce. I was originally appointed for a 12-month term from 26 November 2012 and had since accepted two extensions. My current term will conclude on 30 November 2014.

The Honourable Len Roberts-Smith RFD, QC Chair Defence Abuse Response Taskforce

SEVENTH INTERIM REPORT TO THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR DEFENCE | SEPTEMBER 2014 4

This Report concentrates on providing a general update on the progress being made by the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (Taskforce) in delivering outcomes in response to approximately 2400 individual complaints of abuse.

As at 11 August 2014, the Taskforce had:

• supported complainants as their matters progress through the various Taskforce processes to resolution;

• provided a Case Coordinator to more than 1277 complainants;

• fully or partially assessed 2272 complaints to determine whether they are within scope of the Terms of Reference and are plausible;

• liaised with complainants and Defence to obtain further information in relation to particular complaints;

• released the details of the national Defence Abuse Counselling Program;

• approved 2361 counselling sessions to complainants under the Defence Abuse Counselling Program;

• made Reparation Payments to 878 complainants, totalling more than $36 million;

• prepared 191 senior Defence representatives across Australia to participate in the Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program;

• facilitated 48 Restorative Engagement Conferences (including one follow-up Conference); under the Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program;

• referred 73 cases to State and Territory police for assessment and consideration of criminal investigation and prosecution;

• referred 22 matters to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) for consideration or administrative or disciplinary action;

• continued collecting and analysing data through the Taskforce Case Management System (CMS) to better inform the Taskforce, the Government and Defence about systemic issues arising in the complaints received by the Taskforce;

• released a detailed parliamentary Report on abuse at HMAS Leeuwin (HMAS Leeuwin Report) during the 1960s to 1980s;

• provided a copy of the HMAS Leeuwin Report to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; and

• assisted the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee in their consideration of the response by the Government and Defence to the work of the Taskforce.

This Report demonstrates that the Taskforce is continuing to prioritise finalising assessments and providing practical outcomes to complainants. To provide these outcomes, the Taskforce has devised and developed innovative national programs. Throughout the assessment process and in delivering outcomes, the Taskforce takes into account the rights and interests of complainants and other parties. This is demonstrated by the Taskforce’s commitment to the fundamental principle that any action taken by the Taskforce should ‘do no further harm’.

1. Executive Summary

5 e X e C U t I V e s U M M A R Y

Under the Terms of Reference, the Taskforce is required to liaise with Defence on any implications of its work for Defence’s Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture program. The Taskforce is meeting this obligation through consultation with senior leadership in Defence, detailed parliamentary reports, the referral of still-serving abusers to the CDF for consideration of administrative or disciplinary action and by offering senior Defence representatives the opportunity to participate in facilitated Conferences under the Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program.

The Taskforce continues to gather and analyse statistical data arising from the complaints received. Later this year, the Taskforce will release a parliamentary report containing detailed systemic analysis. That Report will include discussion of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), including the so-called ‘24 [ADFA] cases noted by DLA Piper’, which are a group of sexual offending allegations at ADFA in the 1990s that are specifically referred to in the Taskforce Terms of Reference.

In addition, the Taskforce continues to accept complaints of abuse from women who experienced sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990s. This is possible for two reasons. First, because these individuals are part of a group of subjects specifically named in the Taskforce Terms of Reference, but which cases fall within it is uncertain, and also because the Taskforce had already completed significant work on most of these cases prior to the cut-off date.

SEVENTH INTERIM REPORT TO THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR DEFENCE | SEPTEMBER 2014 6

2. Taskforce Overview

2.1 Background to the Taskforce In April 2011, the so-called ‘Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) Skype incident’ triggered numerous allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse in Defence. In response to these allegations, the former Minister for Defence, the Hon Stephen Smith MP, announced an external review of allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence.

The Secretary of the Department of Defence commissioned law firm DLA Piper to conduct an independent review into these allegations and to develop recommendations for further action. Between April and October 2011, DLA Piper received communications about alleged abuse from 1112 people. Of these, 1095 discrete allegations of abuse, raised by 775 sources, fell within the scope of the review and were assessed.

Volume 1 of the DLA Piper Review was provided to the former Minister for Defence on 11 October 2011. This volume contained general findings and recommendations and is available on the Defence website.

On 17 April 2012, DLA Piper provided the former Minister with a complete copy of Volume 2 and a supplement to Volume 1 of the Review. Volume 2 of the DLA Piper Review contains detailed personal information and specific recommendations about individual complaints of abuse. This volume had not been released publicly (see Section 6 for further information).

DLA Piper considered that the overwhelming majority of the allegations received formed plausible allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse by Defence personnel.

The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (Taskforce) was established on 26 November 2012 as part of the Australian Government’s response to the DLA Piper Review.

The work of the Taskforce is guided by the Terms of Reference, which are provided at Appendix A.

7 t A s K F o R C e o V e R V I e w

2.2 Role of the Taskforce and Scope of Work Under the Terms of Reference, the Taskforce is required to assess the findings of the DLA Piper Review and the material gathered by that review, and any additional material available to the Taskforce concerning complaints of sexual and other forms of abuse by Defence personnel alleged to have occurred prior to 11 April 2011, the date of the announcement of the DLA Piper Review.

The fundamental work of the Taskforce is to determine, in close consultation with complainants, the most appropriate outcome in individual cases.

The Taskforce Terms of Reference include a specific requirement to focus on allegations of abuse at HMAS Leeuwin and ‘the 24 [ADFA] cases noted by DLA Piper’—a group of allegations of sexual abuse occurring in the 1990s.

The Terms of Reference also require that the Taskforce advise Defence on the implications of its work on Defence’s Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture program. The Taskforce is fulfilling this requirement under the Terms of Reference by:

• publishing detailed parliamentary reports on abuse at HMAS Leeuwin, ADFA and statistical and systemic issues arising from the complaints received;

• identifying alleged abusers still serving in Defence and, where appropriate, providing their names to the CDF for consideration of administrative or disciplinary action; and

• arranging for senior Defence representatives to participate in a facilitated Conference with a complainant under the Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program.

On 18 June 2014, the Taskforce released a detailed Report on abuse at HMAS Leeuwin (HMAS Leeuwin Report). Later this year, the Taskforce will release a detailed report on abuse at ADFA, including the cases of sexual abuse occurring at ADFA in the 1990s.

The Taskforce is also required under the Terms of Reference to advise the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General as to whether a Royal Commission would be merited into any categories of allegation raised with the DLA Piper Review or the Taskforce.

The Taskforce had already considered this question in relation to the abuse that occurred at HMAS Leeuwin. In the HMAS Leeuwin Report, the Taskforce expressed the view that a Royal Commission focusing specifically on allegations of abuse at HMAS Leeuwin may not be warranted. However, the Taskforce has provided a copy of the HMAS Leeuwin Report to the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The question whether a Royal Commission is warranted for any other categories of complaints received by the Taskforce, including those relating to abuse at ADFA, will be considered in the next Taskforce report.

Since its establishment, the Taskforce has prioritised the process of assessing and responding to complaints of abuse.

On 14 March 2014, the former Minister for Defence announced that people would had until 31 May 2013 to register a new complaint with the Taskforce.

The Taskforce took active steps to raise awareness of this cut-off date in the media, through:

• information provided on the Taskforce website;

• advertisements placed in major metropolitan newspapers on four separate occasions in April and May 2013; and

• distributing a media release to print, broadcast and online media outlets urging anyone who suffered abuse in Defence prior to 11 April 2011 to contact the Taskforce before the cut-off date.

SEVENTH INTERIM REPORT TO THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR DEFENCE | SEPTEMBER 2014 8

The former Minister for Defence and Attorney-General distributed two joint media releases publicising the cut-off date on 16 and 28 May 2013.

The Taskforce also worked directly with Defence to publicise this cut-off date internally. Defence have advised that ADF-wide communications were circulated, including via DEFGRAM and CDF Signal, articles in the Air Force, Navy and Army newspapers and online on the Defence intranet site and CadetNet.

The Taskforce received approximately 2400 complaints of abuse by the cut-off date. The Taskforce is continuing to accept complaints from women who experienced sexual abuse at ADFA during the time period of the ‘24 [ADFA] cases noted by DLA Piper’ (1991—1998). This is possible for two reasons. First, because these individuals are part of a group of subjects specifically named in the Taskforce Terms of Reference, but which cases fall within it is uncertain, and also because the Taskforce had already completed significant work on most of these cases prior to the cut-off date.

2.3 Key Taskforce Milestones Since the Sixth Interim Report was tabled on 18 June 2014, the Taskforce has continued to make extensive progress in delivering outcomes to complainants. This Report provides updated statistics on each of the Taskforce’s outcomes.

The Taskforce has received extensive feedback on the HMAS Leeuwin Report, which was released on 18 June 2014. The then Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, publicly committed to ensuring that the HMAS Leeuwin Report is used as a resource on all of the Navy’s promotion and leadership courses. This commitment has been continued by the current Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC.

A copy of the HMAS Leeuwin Report has also been provided to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and, on 24 June 2014, the Chair of the Taskforce met with the Chief Royal Commissioner, Justice Peter McClellan AM, QC to discuss its contents.

In the coming months, the Taskforce will be focusing on finalising complaints and preparing a detailed parliamentary report on systemic issues arising in the complaints it has received. This will include detailed information about abuse alleged to had occurred at ADFA.

A chronology of the key meetings undertaken by the Chair of the Taskforce is provided at Appendix B.

9 o n G o I n G C o M P L A I n A n t s U P P o R t

3. Ongoing Complainant Support

3.1 Support provided to complainants The Taskforce acknowledges the distress that some complainants have experienced as a result of sharing their stories of abuse. Many complainants have never previously reported or spoken about the abuse they suffered before—even to their partners or families. Even for those who have previously shared stories, recounting them to the Taskforce can still be a difficult process.

For this reason, the Taskforce has put in place a number of measures to ensure that complainants are provided with appropriate support throughout their interaction with the Taskforce. This support is provided both through the work of the Complainant Support Group, as well as through counselling sessions delivered under the national Defence Abuse Counselling Program, which is discussed in more detail in Section 5.

The Taskforce Complainant Support Group provides one-on-one assistance to complainants throughout the process and acts as the main point of contact for complainants. Staff members of this Group had wide experience in working with people who had been subjected to violence, discrimination, social disadvantage and trauma.

Once a complaint has been assessed as plausible and within the Taskforce Terms of Reference, the complainant is allocated a Case Coordinator. This Case Coordinator will be their primary point of contact and will provide support to them to access the Taskforce outcomes. The outcomes that are provided will depend on the personal circumstances and preferences of the complainant themselves, and may include a referral to counselling under the Defence Abuse Counselling Program.

Contact details of support organisations such as Lifeline, Beyondblue, Employee Assistance Programs and the ADF all-hours support line are provided through the Taskforce website as well as in verbal and written communication with complainants as needed. Many of these expert services provide 24-hour support which is critical as some complainants are located overseas or in rural or remote areas and would otherwise have difficulty accessing the necessary assistance.

‘I would like to thank you for all your assistance you have provided to me and my family upon my submission to [the Taskforce]. It has provided a positive step forward from the negative experience I, and as a result, my family have had to endure. Again, I can’t thank you and your staff enough.’

- Complainant A, 2013/1534

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3.2 Contact with complainants to date As at 11 August 2014, the Taskforce had contacted 2514 complainants and/or representatives and 1277 complainants had been allocated with Case Coordinators.

During the period covered by this Report, the Complainant Support Group had continued to provide support to complainants by:

• assisting complainants with providing further information if they are requested to do so by the Taskforce;

• updating complainants on the progress of their complaints;

• explaining the Taskforce’s processes and outcomes;

• providing information regarding relevant outcome options and assisting complainants with accessing those outcomes; and

• assisting complainants participating in a Restorative Engagement Conference to prepare for that Conference.

The Complainant Support Group is also able to provide information about appropriate agencies or processes to address complaints received after the cut-off date or where a complaint does not come within the Taskforce Terms of Reference.

This information is also provided on the Taskforce website.

3.3 Feedback from complainants The Taskforce places a great deal of importance on the feedback it receives from complainants.

This feedback may take the form of concerns about a specific aspect of a complainant’s matter or may relate to the Taskforce’s work more generally.

Where a complainant raises a concern about their matter, the Taskforce is able to provide a direct response to the complainant through their Case Coordinator. The Taskforce also records and considers any general feedback received about the impact that its work has had on the lives of complainants.

A number of complainants have contacted the Taskforce in response to the release of the HMAS Leeuwin Report. For many complainants, reading the personal accounts of abuse included in this Report was very confronting. However, a large number of complainants expressed their appreciation for the work that the Taskforce had undertaken in relation to HMAS Leeuwin and ensuring that the abuse that occurred there is committed to the public record.

Appendix C provides a brief selection of de-identified feedback received by the Taskforce from complainants. The Taskforce has obtained consent from complainants to publish this feedback.

The Taskforce has also received feedback from complainants offering their views as to whether a Royal Commission would be merited into any categories of allegation being considered by the Taskforce. The Taskforce will carefully consider this feedback as it prepares to advise the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General on this issue.

1 1 A s s e s s M e n t P R o C e s s

Before a complainant can be provided with an outcome, their complaint must be assessed to determine if it is within scope of the Taskforce Terms of Reference and plausible. This assessment is completed by the Taskforce Assessment Group.

The Assessment Group approaches each complaint individually, assessing the documentation provided by the complainant, DLA Piper or Defence on a case-by-case basis to determine scope and plausibility. As each complaint may contain multiple allegations and hundreds of pages of information, this can be a lengthy process.

By 31 May 2014, the Assessment Group had either fully or partially assessed all 2400 complaints received by the Taskforce. The requests which were partially assessed at that date were awaiting further information from either Defence or from the complainant. Since 31 May 2014, the Assessment Group has focused on finalising any partially assessed matters following receipt of the requested information. So long as the requested information is received in a timely manner, the Assessment Group is forecast to finalise all assessments by 30 September 2014.

Of the 1892 complaints fully assessed as at 11 August 2014, the Taskforce Assessment Group had assessed:

• 1674 complaints as either within or outside of the scope of the Taskforce Terms of Reference and plausible or not plausible. This includes:

- 228 complaints with all allegations assessed as in scope of the Taskforce Terms of Reference and plausible, representing 12% of total complaints fully assessed by the Taskforce.

• 218 complaints that the Taskforce had assessed that it is unable to take action on, representing 11% of total complaints fully assessed by the Taskforce.

4.1 Scope and Plausibility As previously noted, a complainant is not eligible for any outcome from the Taskforce unless their allegation of abuse has been assessed as within scope of its Terms of Reference and plausible.

Complaints and/or individual allegations within complaints have been assessed as being outside of the Terms of Reference where:

• The alleged abuse occurred after 11 April 2011.

• The complainant did not contact the Taskforce (or the DLA Piper Review) before 31 May 2013.

• The complainant and/or the alleged abuser were not members of Defence at the time of the alleged abuse.

• The alleged abuse does not have a sufficient connection with the complainant’s employment in Defence.

• The abuse does not fall within the Taskforce definition of abuse—that is, come within one of the following categories: sexual abuse; physical abuse; sexual harassment, or workplace harassment and bullying.

Complaints and/or individual allegations within complaints may be assessed as not plausible if, based on all the information before the Taskforce, the complaint or allegation does not had the appearance of reasonableness. For a complaint or allegation to be ‘plausible’, the person making the assessment must be brought to an actual belief that the complaint or allegation is true. Appendix C to the Second Interim Report provides further explanation of plausibility.

4. Assessment process

SEVENTH INTERIM REPORT TO THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR DEFENCE | SEPTEMBER 2014 1 2

4.2 Unactionable Complaints The Taskforce is not able to take action in relation to complaints where:

• The complaint relates to the alleged abuse of another person (the subject), and the Taskforce has not received consent from that person to assess the complaint.

- For family members of deceased persons who allegedly suffered abuse in Defence and direct witnesses to one or more instances of abuse in Defence, where the complaint is assessed as being within the scope of the Taskforce Terms of Reference and plausible, these persons may access the Defence Abuse Counselling Scheme.

• The information received does not include allegations of abuse but had been provided as general information to assist the Taskforce.

• The complainant has advised the Taskforce that they do not wish to progress their complaint.

• The Taskforce has not been able to contact the complainant, after making all reasonable attempts by phone and email, advising the complainant via registered mail, and not receiving a response by 14 days after the letter was sent.

However, in appropriate circumstances, this information may be used to assist the Taskforce in identifying systemic issues occurring in Defence.

4.3 Reconsideration of Decision The Assessment Group has also assisted in reviewing matters previously assessed as out of scope or not plausible on receipt of requests for reconsideration from complainants. Many of these complaints are complex and require careful consideration.

A request for reconsideration must be made by a complainant in writing within 28 days of receipt of written advice from the Taskforce that the complaint had been either fully or partially assessed as being outside of the scope of the Taskforce Terms of Reference or not plausible.

In submitting a request, the complainant may provide additional information in support of their complaint. This information, and all material already on file for the complaint, is entirely reviewed by Senior Assessors within the Assessment Group, and the Taskforce Chair or his delegate.

As at 11 August 2014, 70 requests for reconsideration had been received, 42 of which had been responded to and the complainants advised of the final outcome for their complaint.

1 3 o U t C o M e s AVA I L A B L e to C o M P L A I n A n t s

5. Outcomes available to complainants

Once a complaint had been assessed as in scope and plausible, a Case Coordinator is allocated to the complainant. This Case Coordinator consults with the complainant to determine what outcomes they would like pursue.

The Taskforce is able to provide five outcomes:

• referral to counselling under the national Defence Abuse Counselling Program;

• a Reparation Payment of up to $50,000 under the Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme;

• participation in the Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program, which gives complainants the opportunity to had their complaint heard, acknowledged and responded to by a senior Defence representative;

• referral of appropriate matters to civilian police for their assessment and possible investigation and prosecution; and

• referral to the CDF for administrative or disciplinary action or management action.

Each of these outcomes is discussed in more detail below.

5.1 Defence Abuse Counselling Program

‘The counselling lady I am seeing, [Name], is superb. At every session she was able to hear what I was saying and was just brilliant. I have had counselling over the years but had never found a counsellor who had been so effective at grasping my story, harnessing the essence of it by offering understanding and value-added theory and strategies to help me move forward. She has helped me enormously.’

- Complainant B, 2013/501

The Taskforce recognises that reporting and discussing abuse can be distressing. The Defence Abuse Counselling Program (Counselling Program) is available to complainants to address the impacts of the abuse suffered or the associated distress of retelling their experiences to the Taskforce. Significant others—including partners or children—may also be able to access the national Counselling Program if they have been affected by the abuse experienced by the complainant.

The Counselling Program is available to a complainant once their matter had been assessed as in scope and plausible and a Case Coordinator had been allocated. Occasionally, in exceptional circumstances, complainants may be able to access the Counselling Program while their matter is still being assessed by the Taskforce.

The National Counselling Provider is Davidson Trahaire Corpsych. All counsellors must be Registered Psychologists or accredited Mental Health Social Workers who had experience working with complex trauma.

Whilst face-to-face counselling is the preferred option, in some circumstances the National Counselling Provider may only be able to offer counselling via telephone or video link depending on the location of the complainant.

Where a complainant is already seeing a Registered Psychologist or accredited Mental Health Social Worker, and would like to continue with him or her rather than be referred to the National Counselling Provider, the Taskforce may be able to fund some sessions with this counsellor. However, before this can be approved, the Taskforce must ensure that the counsellor meets the necessary professional qualifications and requirements.

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As at 11 August 2014, the Chair had approved 2361 counselling sessions under the national Counselling Program, of which 917 counselling sessions had already taken place.

In addition to the counselling services available as an outcome to complainants, the Taskforce provides the details of other counselling services that might be available to complainants who are feeling distressed and are in need of urgent assistance.

5.2 Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme

‘I also didn’t know that payment was an option when I put my complaint in. I was just wanting to get some form of closure. To read the letter [Reparation Payments Assessor’s], to see it in writing, for my family to see it as well, has provided a great sense of closure for me’

- Complainant C, 2013/1797

The Sixth Interim Report outlined the progress of the Reparation Group in delivering efficient, high quality advice to the independent Reparation Payments Assessor (Assessor) in order to ensure the timely resolution of Reparation Payment outcomes for complainants to the Taskforce.

The Reparation Group had continued to implement streamlined briefing arrangements. The Reparation Group had made more than 200 Reparation Payments since the Sixth Interim Report was tabled.

Categories of Payment

The Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme Guidelines (Guidelines) were endorsed by the then Prime Minister on 10 April 2013. Under the Guidelines, there are five categories of Reparation Payment:

• Category 1 (Abuse): $5,000;

• Category 2 (Abuse): $15,000;

• Category 3 (Abuse): $30,000;

• Category 4 (Abuse): $45,000; and

• Category 5 (Mismanagement by Defence): $5,000.

Category of Abuse payments under the Guidelines are intended to capture the spectrum of abuse falling within the scope of the Taskforce. These categories allow for recognition of increasingly serious abuse, relative to other allegations of abuse before the Taskforce, with Category 4 acknowledging the most serious forms of individual or collective abuse. A single incident of physical assault with no serious injury might fall in Category 1 or 2 (depending on the individual circumstances), while a serious sexual assault, such as a rape, would be expected to fall within Category 4.

A Category 5 (Mismanagement by Defence) payment can be made in addition to a Category 1 to 4 (Abuse) payment. These payments are made to acknowledge that a report of abuse has been mismanaged or in circumstances where the Assessor is satisfied Defence failed to take reasonable management action to prevent, stop or respond to abuse.

The Assessor is responsible for deciding whether or not a person satisfies the criteria to qualify for a Reparation Payment and, if so, the amount of the Reparation Payment in each case. In making this decision, the Assessor takes into account all information held by the Taskforce. It is open to the Assessor to determine that a person does not qualify for a payment if, on the basis of all available information, they do not satisfy the requirements for a Category 1 to 4 (Abuse) or Category 5 (Mismanagement by Defence) payment.

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The Taskforce makes clear to complainants that a payment made under the Reparation Scheme is not paid as compensation for emotional, physical, psychological, emotional or financial loss as a result of the abuse. Reparation Payments do not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the Commonwealth.

Key Statistics

As at 11 August 2014, the Reparation Payments Assessor had made 1029 decisions. Of these:

- 54 were preliminary decisions where the Assessor is awaiting or considering further information.

- 975 were final decisions (totalling $40.095 million).

878 of the 975 final decisions had been paid ($36.495 million)*. A breakdown of the 975 final decisions follows:

• 555 maximum payments of $50,000 (Category 4 (Abuse) plus Category 5 (Mismanagement by Defence));

- 513 of these 555 final decisions had been paid

• 10 payments of $45,000 (Category 4 (Abuse) with no Category 5 (Mismanagement by Defence));

- 9 of these 10 final decisions had been paid

• 262 payments of $35,000 (Category 3 (Abuse) plus Category 5 (Mismanagement by Defence));

- 235 of these 262 final decisions had been paid

• 3 payments of $30,000 (Category 3 (Abuse));

- 2 of these 3 final decisions had been paid

• 117 payments of $20,000 (Category 2 (Abuse) plus Category 5 (Mismanagement by Defence));

- 95 of these 117 final decisions had been paid

• 3 payments of $15,000 (Category 2 (Abuse));

- 3 of these 3 final decisions had been paid

• 25 payments of $10,000 (Category 1 (Abuse) and Category 5 (Mismanagement);

- 21 of these 25 final decisions had been paid, and

• 0 final decisions to pay $5,000 (Category 1 (Abuse)).

* The delay between a final payment decision and actual payment is due to the time difference between the complainant being informed of the final outcome, the complainant’s EFT form being received by the Taskforce, and the payment being processed.

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5.3 Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program

‘The conference was excellent. The next day I felt really good. [The Defence representative] engaged very well. We talked about the processes in place and the conversation went very well. The process showed care of my mental health. [The Facilitator] was very professional and engaged well. It was significant to have the Conference face-to-face as it has been a struggle to put my story on paper.’

- Complainant D, 2013/87

(a) Overview The Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program (the Program) provides an opportunity for complainants to the Taskforce to take part in a Restorative Engagement Conference. The purpose of the Conference is to allow the complainant’s personal story of abuse to be heard, acknowledged and responded to by a senior representative of Defence. It is a means of directly addressing the harm resulting from abuse, and the ongoing consequences of it, for complainants.

The Program is an innovative, unique model that has been designed to best meet the needs of complainants and provide a genuine and meaningful interaction between the complainant and a senior representative from Defence. It is an opportunity for the complainant’s concerns to be raised and their experiences of abuse, and the resultant impact, to be addressed in a forum in which Defence has accepted that it has a responsibility and an obligation to respond.

If a complainant is assessed by the Taskforce as being suitable and ready to participate in the Program, an appropriate Defence representative is nominated, and a Taskforce accredited Facilitator is engaged to help all parties prepare to meet in a Restorative Engagement Conference.

The Conference is a facilitated private meeting that brings together the complainant, their support person (should they wish to have one), and the Defence representative to discuss the complainant’s personal story of abuse and the impact of this on their life.

The Program uses the term ‘Conference Process’ to refer to an individual complainant’s participation in the Program once they have been approved by the Taskforce for participation. A Conference Process includes preparation for the Conference (including all liaison with the Taskforce in relation to the arrangements for the Pre-Conference and Conference meetings), all communications with the Facilitator to prepare for the Conference (including participation in the Pre-Conference meeting), participation in the Conference itself, and the follow-up with the Facilitator following the Conference.

The central underlying principle of the Program is to ‘do no further harm’ in a Conference Process. Each step of the Conference Process had been developed with a view to supporting complainants throughout their involvement in the Program. This includes assessing, on a continuous basis, the suitability and readiness of the complainant to participate in the Program.

In the majority of cases, Conferences will be held face-to-face. However there may be instances, for example if a complainant is chronically ill, where an indirect Conference may occur via phone, letter or other forms of communication.

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(b) Delivery of the Program Phase 1 of the Program, which involved the participation of the most senior Defence leaders including the CDF and Vice-CDF and the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force concluded at the end of 2013. Feedback from Phase 1 was that the Conference Processes were positive experiences for complainants and they found Defence representatives engaged in a genuine and meaningful way.

Phase 2 of the Program commenced in January 2014. Feedback received from participants to date continues to be overwhelmingly positive. Complainants have told the Taskforce that their participation in the Program contributed towards healing the harm they have suffered and helped restore their relationship with Defence.

Complainants have indicated that joining the ADF, an organisation they admired and respected, to serve their country was important to them, and the fracturing of that relationship often causes lifelong emotional pain and distress. They feel their Service (Army, Navy or Air Force) failed its obligation to look after them by allowing the abuse to happen and not responding appropriately when it did.

The Taskforce has found that a primary motivation for many complainants is that they do not want what happened to them to happen to anyone else.

Each Conference contributes to the building of a collective understanding within Defence of the impact that abuse has on individuals and organisations and to positively impact ongoing cultural change within Defence. This has been a very powerful motivator for complainants in participating in the Program.

In anticipation of a greatly increased number of referrals during Phase 2 of the Program, internal operational procedures have been reviewed and updated to ensure they are streamlined and consistent. Operational processes are reviewed regularly to ensure the implementation of the Program remains effective. Further review and improvement of operational procedures will be an ongoing focus for the Program.

The Program Risk and Quality Assurance Team oversees governance, risk and program management arrangements, ensuring the Program is administered efficiently and effectively to achieve its objectives within a robust decision-making framework in line with broader whole-of-Taskforce governance arrangements.

The Program Integrity Team ensures a consistently high level of practice is maintained across the Program. In order to ensure that Facilitators are working within the Program Framework, this team will regularly observe Conferences, subject to the consent of the participants. Based on these observations and ongoing feedback from Facilitators, this team will also address support needs of Facilitators in relation to debriefing, mentoring, and peer support.

The Restorative Engagement Program Facilitator Accreditation model is another mechanism through which the Taskforce ensures program integrity and monitors each Facilitator’s ongoing ability to demonstrate and apply the appropriate attributes, skills and techniques required by the Program, in addition to ensuring Facilitators adhere to the Program’s practice requirements.

Two-day Facilitator Induction Sessions were conducted by the Taskforce in June 2014, with the final session in August 2014. Facilitators will be subject to ongoing assessment of their ability to demonstrate and apply the appropriate attributes, skills and techniques required to properly prepare participants for, and conduct, Conferences.

All participants in a Restorative Engagement Conference Process are asked to provide written evaluation feedback. This feedback is central to monitoring to what extent the Program is addressing participants’ needs, and where the Program may require adaptation to address emerging issues and themes.

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(c) Conferences As at 11 August 2014, the Taskforce had conducted 48 Restorative Engagement Conferences, 45 of which involved face-to face-facilitated meetings between the complainant, their support person, and a senior Defence representative. Three were conducted as indirect Conference Processes where the complainant received a written letter of acknowledgement from a Defence representative.

Complainants’ personal stories had included a range of accounts of sexual and physical abuse, sexual harassment and bullying and harassment. Some had involved circumstances of mismanagement by Defence of reports of abuse.

The complainants who have to date participated in a Restorative Engagement Conference experienced abuse whilst serving in the Army, Navy or Air Force. Complainants have the opportunity to nominate the Service from which they would like the Defence representative to be.

As at 11 August 2014, complainants had met with Defence representatives of Colonel equivalent or above across the three services (16 with Army, 24 Navy and 8 Air Force) in Restorative Engagement Conferences.

While the Taskforce has received allegations of abuse from Department of Defence Australian Public Service (APS) employees, to date there have not been any Restorative Engagement Conferences in relation to APS complaints. This is accounted for by the fact that the Taskforce has received fewer complaints of abuse from Defence APS employees.

Generally, Conferences are held as close as possible to where the complainant resides. This ensures that the complainant is close to their support network, and that the requirement to travel is kept to a minimum.

As at 11 August 2014, Restorative Engagement Conferences had taken place across Australia, including in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Newcastle, Perth, Tamworth and Townsville.

The logistics of arranging a Restorative Engagement Conference Process are multi-faceted and complex. Once a Case Coordinator and complainant determine that a Conference Process is an outcome the complainant would like to pursue, the Case Coordinator refers the matter to the Restorative Engagement Conference Team which then makes an assessment as to the complainant’s suitability and readiness to participate in the Program.

Establishing a Conference requires the coordination of various logistical arrangements including: selection of an appropriate Defence representative; the engagement of an appropriate Facilitator; and then coordination of the respective availability of the Complainant, their support person, the Defence representative and the Facilitator; arranging venue hire, travel and accommodation for participants for both the Pre-Conference preparation meeting and the Conference itself; providing briefing information to both the Facilitator and the Defence representative; and ensuring any follow-up is undertaken including provision of reports and debriefing with participants after the Conference Process.

The Restorative Engagement Conference can be an emotional and unsettling experience for complainants, many of whom have not mentioned their experience of abuse to anyone prior to registering with the Taskforce. The Complainant Support Group works closely with the Conference Team to determine whether a complainant is properly prepared for their participation in a Conference Process. All information available to the Taskforce is carefully considered at each stage of the preparation, and for the actual Conference, to ensure the complainant is safely able to participate.

This process begins with the conversations between Case Coordinators and complainants about what the complainant hopes to achieve through their participation in the Program, and whether this is realistic and achievable. The Case Coordinator also ensures that the complainant has adequate support systems and is emotionally ready to participate in a Conference.

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Once a Facilitator is engaged for a matter they are responsible for monitoring the complainant’s continuing suitability and readiness to participate in the Conference Process. An important feature of the Program is that a complainant is able to withdraw their participation in a Conference Process at any stage if they do not wish to proceed.

The Conference Process has steps built-in to ensure that the Complainant is involved and informed at every stage of their participation in the Program. By ensuring clear communication with complainants, and managing and responding to any questions or issues arising, the Taskforce ensures the complainant is as ready and prepared as possible to meet with Defence and maximises the opportunity for the Conference to be a meaningful and enduring process for the complainant.

(d) Defence Representatives As identified in the Sixth Interim Report, 191 Defence representatives across Australia have been prepared to participate in Restorative Engagement Conferences. This number includes 167 males and 24 females, with a Defence service breakdown of:

• 113 Army representatives (101 males and 12 females);

• 44 Navy representatives (38 males and six females);

• 33 Air Force representatives (28 males and five females); and

• one female APS Department of Defence representative.

Defence representatives are prepared to participate in the Program by attending a Preparatory Session. This is a day-long course, run by the Taskforce, designed to equip Defence representatives with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to assist in achieving the objectives of the Program, and focuses on the central principle of the Program, to ‘do no further harm’.

The Taskforce has received very positive feedback from participating Defence representatives, with the majority noting that the Preparatory Sessions have allowed them to feel adequately prepared and supported in moving forward with their participation in the Program.

Australian Defence Force members participating in the Restorative Engagement Program must be of a 0-6 rank or above. For Army this is the rank of Colonel or above, Navy it is Captain or above, and for Air Force it is Group Captain or above. In addition, the three most senior non-commissioned Officer ranks have been prepared; the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, the Warrant Officer of the Air Force and the Warrant Officer of the Navy.

The most recent Preparatory Session was held in Canberra on 13 May 2014. Additional Preparatory Sessions will be held in October 2014 and potentially 2015, to ensure ample Defence representatives are available and prepared for the Program as it continues operation. The willingness and enthusiasm of such a large number of senior Defence personnel to be involved in the Program is a great demonstration of Defence’s commitment not only to the Program, but also to effecting cultural change more broadly across the organisation.

(e) Facilitators In a Conference Process, the role of the Facilitator is to safeguard the interests of the complainant, ensuring that the Conference Process is a safe and restorative experience for the complainant. This is done in accordance with the key Taskforce guidance documents for Facilitators including the Restorative Engagement Program Framework and the Restorative Engagement Program Facilitator Handbook.

In preparing the parties prior to a Conference Process, the Facilitator had an important role in ensuring the continued readiness and suitability of all participants.

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The role of the Facilitator centres around three key stages of the Conference Process. The Facilitator is first briefed in writing, and then:

• holds a Pre-Conference preparation meeting with the complainant and their support person to build an understanding of the context of the abuse and its impacts on the complainant and their current circumstances and to assist the complainant to identify the particular issues they wish to address with the Defence representative;

• holds a Pre-Conference meeting with the senior Defence representative to prepare them for any particular issues, sensitivities or needs the complainant may have about the Conference, and to address any queries the Defence representative may have; and

• facilitates a Restorative Engagement Conference with the complainant, their support person and the Defence representative which is the culmination of the process.

There are a number of administrative processes that must be completed by the Facilitator who is also responsible for following up with both the complainant and the Defence representative immediately after the Conference. The complainant’s Case Coordinator also follows up with the complainant after the Conference to check-in with them and discuss if there is any need for further supports such as counselling.

The Taskforce has now completed the tender process for the engagement of a large cohort of Facilitators throughout Australia to run Conference Processes. As part of the tender process, candidates went through an initial paper-based screening process and then those who were successful in the procurement then attended an induction program (described below) during which final engagement depended on Facilitators being able to satisfactorily demonstrate their understanding of the Program and their ability to adapt their existing skills to the specific requirements of the Program, in order to meet Taskforce accreditation requirements.

The Taskforce had developed the Restorative Engagement Program Facilitator Handbook for Facilitators which comprehensively explains the theory and principles of the Program, how to conduct a Conference Process, how to facilitate a Conference, and the Facilitator’s administrative arrangements and responsibilities.

The two-day Facilitator Induction expanded on the information outlined in the Handbook by providing more in-depth and detailed information about the Program including topics such as the sensitivities and circumstances of complainants, the types of abuse that may be discussed in Conferences, and Defence culture and hierarchy and insights from Phase 1 Facilitators. Facilitators also participated in observed role-play simulations to obtain greater experiential understanding of conducting a Conference Process and to demonstrate the skills required.

Two Facilitator Induction sessions were held in June 2014 and a third session held in August 2014. All took place in Canberra.

The newly engaged Facilitators are now conducting Conferences around Australia.

Feedback from Facilitators about both the skills assessment component of the procurement process and the Facilitator Induction sessions was extremely positive, with overwhelming feedback that they found participation in the role plays for both Pre-Conferences and Conferences was a relevant and informative learning opportunity.

Quote from Anthony Melican, Facilitator in Phase 1 and 2 of the Program:

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‘I have found facilitating Restorative Engagement Conferences to be a moving, challenging and privileged experience.

I have seen each Complainant display, in the most humble and self-effacing ways, remarkable courage in talking about experiences which have haunted them for many years.

Each has been prepared to be vulnerable in disclosing the harm and shame they endured.

Each has courageously exposed their grief for the: loss of career opportunities and connection with the Defence family; abandonment by those they trusted to address the violations; and, for the impact of their trauma on their loved ones.

Each has expressed a respect and a love for the ADF and a pride at having been a member of the ADF.

Each has expressed relief at being listened to, believed and responded to.

Each has expressed gratitude for the Defence Representative’s heartfelt apology.

Each has expressed hope for a future now more free from haunting, debilitating memories.

Each has expressed a warm respect for the Defence Representative’s willingness to listen and respond to them as an equal human being.

I have seen their Support People be similarly courageous, respectful, and hopeful despite their own grief and indignation.

I have seen the Defence Representatives be abundantly caring, near moved to tears at times, utterly respectful and sincere.

In the light of all this, as a Facilitator, I am deeply moved, challenged to live my life more fearlessly and privileged to see men and women of moral character show how it can be done.’

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Quote from Alan Ogg, Facilitator in Phase 1 and 2 of the Program:

‘This is a wonderful process that offers deep understanding and insight to all who participate.

Complainants invariably express gratitude and relief when their story had been listened to, heard and acknowledged. They also acknowledge the therapeutic benefits of the process although for many it is just one step, albeit for many a significant one, in a lifelong struggle to overcome deep trauma.

Feedback from Defence representatives is that through the Restorative Engagement Conference, and the personal contact and connection with complainants it provides, they really begin to understand the far-reaching impact of harm and the damage to not just the individual, but to their families, partners, children and work colleagues.’

5.4 Referral to Commonwealth, State and Territory Police Agencies The Taskforce Crime Group continues to assess complaints where a criminal offence is alleged to have been committed and the complainant has consented to referral to a police agency.

As previously reported, many complainants are choosing not to pursue this option for a variety of reasons. For some, a long time has passed since the alleged offences were committed and the complainants do not feel it is in their interest to pursue their abuser through the criminal justice system. Some do not want to relive the painful memories they have worked very hard to forget. Others has had negative experiences with police or military investigators in the past and distrust law enforcement as a result.

The number of matters referred to police is not a reflection of the seriousness of the complaints received by the Taskforce. It is important to note that even the most recent allegations of criminal conduct were nearly 18 months old when the Taskforce was announced, and the passage of time can reduce the likelihood of a successful prosecution due to evidentiary limitations.

As at 11 August 2014, 103 complaints involving 181 separate allegations of criminal conduct had been referred to the Crime Group for assessment and possible referral to the appropriate policing agency. The range of categories of abuse remains consistent with previous parliamentary reports.

As at that date, the Taskforce had referred 73 matters to State and Territory police:

• 7 had been referred to Australian Capital Territory Policing;

• 26 had been referred to New South Wales Police Force;

• 4 had been referred to Northern Territory Police;

• 12 had been referred to Queensland Police Service;

• 2 had been referred to South Australia Police;

• 1 had been referred to Tasmania Police;

• 17 had been referred to Victoria Police; and

• 4 had been referred to Western Australia Police.

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The Taskforce has observed that some complainants have withdrawn consent for their matters to be investigated by police after referral has been made and the relevant police agency had been in contact with them. Again, this is not a reflection on the seriousness or veracity of the complaints the Taskforce had received. The practical reality of interaction with police for the purposes of initiating a criminal investigation and possible prosecution, with all the implications of that, can often be extremely challenging. That is consistent with experience generally.

The Crime Group has also experienced an increase in complainants who remain unsure if they want their matter assessed by the Crime Group for possible referral. These complainants are being given as much time and information as practicable to assist them in making a decision. Of course, the option to approach police directly with their allegations is always available to complainants regardless of their decision regarding Crime Group referral.

5.5 Referral to Defence for administrative or disciplinary action Some actions that constitute abuse may be appropriate to be referred to the CDF for consideration of possible administrative or disciplinary action if the alleged abuser is identified by the Taskforce as still serving within Defence or is a member of the Reserves.

Administrative action might include censure, formal warning, removal of security clearance, reduction in rank and termination of service. Disciplinary action might be appropriate where the allegations in the complaint suggest that an offence may have been committed under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 (DFD Act). Following a finding of guilt under the DFD Act punishments can include stoppage of leave, extra duties, fines, detention, imprisonment, and dismissal from the Defence Force.

The complainant’s views on referral will be considered by the Chair of the Taskforce when determining whether a matter should be referred to the CDF. However, as noted in the Fifth Interim Report, the Chair considers he has an obligation to inform the CDF where a currently serving alleged abuser potentially poses a risk to other serving Defence personnel. This may mean that a complaint may be referred to the CDF in the absence of the complainant’s support but with due regard for the complainant’s confidentiality and psychological safety.

A referral to the CDF does not mean that Defence will investigate or take action, or that any action taken will involve imposition of administrative or disciplinary sanctions. For Defence to consider taking any administrative or disciplinary sanction, it must be satisfied on the civil burden of the ‘balance of probabilities’ or the criminal standard of proof of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that abuse or mismanagement occurred. Before the Taskforce can consider what outcomes are available to a complainant, it must be satisfied that the person plausibly suffered abuse or had their allegation of abuse mismanaged by Defence.

As at 11 August 2014, the Taskforce had referred 22 matters to the CDF for his consideration of possible administrative or disciplinary action. Another 39 matters had been assessed as requiring no further action.

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6. Behind the Scenes

6.1 Delivering Results The Taskforce is continuing to focus on implementing the Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program and the services it has developed to ensure the outcomes are provided to complainants as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The procurement of Facilitator services for the Restorative Engagement Program is currently being finalised, with 36 deeds having been signed and services being provided as at 11 August 2014. Debriefings for unsuccessful tenderers are being organised.

The Taskforce has finalised negotiations with Davidson Trahaire Corpsych for the provision of counselling services for the national Defence Abuse Counselling Program. Unsuccessful tenderers have been notified and the Taskforce is currently managing the delivery of counselling services for complainants under this contract.

Approximately 2400 complainants had been recorded in the Taskforce’s Case Management System. As at 11 August 2014, the Reparation Payments Assessor had made 975 final decisions approving in excess of $40 million in Reparation Payments, of which, $36.495 million had been paid to complainants. The Taskforce has contracted a third party, Gallagher Bassett Services Pty Ltd, to facilitate Reparation Payments to individual complainants to ensure confidentiality.

As at that date, the Taskforce had referred 333 complainants to counselling under the national Defence Abuse Counselling Program. It had also facilitated 48 Restorative Engagement Conferences under the Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program.

6.2 Governance The Taskforce continues to focus on providing individually tailored outcomes for complainants. As the Taskforce progresses the delivery of these outcomes, it must remain responsive to the resourcing needs of the various outcome groups, consistent with the Taskforce’s Terms of Reference.

The Taskforce has implemented the protocols and policies necessary to support the delivery of outcomes to complainants. The Taskforce continues to develop and refine a range of protocols and standard operating procedures that ensure consistency and streamline workflows for all groups to assist them to conduct their work in an efficient, fair and effective manner.

The Outcomes Delivery Group (ODG) manages all logistics activities within the Taskforce. This involves making all appropriate travel arrangements for complainants, support persons, Facilitators and Taskforce staff. The Taskforce’s logistic policy and framework ensures that all logistics activities undertaken align and are in accordance with all relevant Commonwealth guidelines, including the whole-of-Australian Government travel arrangements.

The ODG is responsible for ensuring that the Taskforce is compliant with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and associated obligations. The Taskforce continues to focus its assurance activities on ensuring compliance with the Department’s financial framework and integrity of outcomes delivered consistent with the Taskforce Terms of Reference.

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6.3 Engagement with Defence The Taskforce Defence Liaison Unit has regular monthly meetings with the senior leadership of Defence’s Organisational Response Unit (ORU), as well as liaising daily on all matters concerning the Taskforce. These include administrative or disciplinary action referrals, requests for information (RFIs), the Restorative Engagement Program and the Administrative Access Scheme.

In addition to this, the Chair of the Taskforce is in regular contact with the senior Defence leadership.

The Chair had a final meeting with General David Hurley, AC, DSC on 12 June 2014. The Chair has also had various other meetings and telephone conferences with senior Defence personnel since the start of June, including with the Secretary of Defence, Mr Dennis Richardson, AO, the new CDF, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, AC, the now Vice CDF, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO and Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC.

(a) On the Restorative Engagement Program The Taskforce meets regularly with Defence’s ORU to evaluate and enhance the Taskforce and Defence’s contribution to the work of the Restorative Engagement Program.

For the ORU, this includes supporting the delivery of Preparatory Sessions to Defence representatives and coordinating the selection of nominated Defence representatives to participate in individual Restorative Engagement Conferences. The ORU also undertakes logistical and administrative activities to support the involvement of each Defence representative participating in the Program.

Over the last several months, the Taskforce and ORU have been reviewing the Restorative Engagement Protocol, a document that articulates how the Program operates between the Taskforce and Defence. Any changes to the Protocol will be signed-off by the Chair of the Taskforce, CDF and Secretary of Defence.

The Taskforce is also working with the ORU to ensure that the Taskforce has a sufficient number of Defence representatives from the broader Australian Defence Organisation available and prepared to be involved in the Restorative Engagement Program. The Taskforce is in the process of liaising with the ORU to arrange at least two further Preparatory Sessions throughout October, in Canberra and Sydney. The Taskforce anticipates that any remaining Defence representatives nominated to take part in the Restorative Engagement Program, who have not yet attended a Preparatory Session, will attend one of these additional sessions.

The Taskforce acknowledges the important role the ORU performs as a key stakeholder, valuable information resource, and the main conduit between Defence and the Taskforce. With the ORU’s support, the Restorative Engagement Program will continue to play a significant role in positively influencing the culture of Defence.

(b) On Requests for Information From 3 June to 11 August 2014, the Taskforce placed 332 RFIs with the ORU seeking both corporate and individual information. Those 332 RFIs included 1899 questions. This brings the total number of RFIs requested to 2047, and the total number of questions to 13,072. Of these 2047 RFIs the Taskforce had received a response to 1930 leaving 117 outstanding.

The average number of days for Defence to process an RFI during this period was eight days. As reported in the Sixth Interim Report, information requested to assist the assessment of matters where a criminal offence is alleged to have taken place typically take longer to be returned to the Taskforce. The total average number of days for Defence to process a Crime Group related RFI is 32 days.

When required, DLU will request information from other areas within Defence on behalf of the Taskforce, such as the Director Inquiries and Investigations, Inspector-General ADF (IGADF) and the Australian Defence Force Investigation Service (ADFIS).

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(c) On sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990s Under the Terms of Reference, the Taskforce is required to assess the ‘24 Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) cases noted by DLA Piper. These cases are a cluster of allegations of sexual abuse of women at ADFA in the mid-1990s, which were first identified during the Review into policies and practices to deal with sexual harassment and sexual offences (the Grey Review).

The Grey Review identified 24 allegations of sexual assault (15 cases of rape and nine cases of serious sexual assault) at ADFA in the mid-1990s (with most occurring between 1994 and 1998). These cases were noted in the DLA Piper Review.

(i) Taskforce Analysis

The Taskforce’s assessment of these cases revealed a significant additional number of allegations of sexual abuse of women at ADFA during this time period. The Taskforce assessment has included all of these cases, not just the original 24 identified by the Grey Review.

In December 2012, Defence provided the Taskforce with a large number of Defence documents relating to allegations of sexual abuse of women at ADFA in the mid-1990s. In addition, 11 women had made complaints directly to the Taskforce of sexual abuse at ADFA during this time period. The Taskforce has reviewed all additional material provided by these complainants.

The Taskforce conducted a review of all available sources and concluded that the cases referred to by DLA Piper include approximately 24 allegations of sexual abuse experienced by 19 women. This review also revealed further reports of sexual abuse of women during this time period, including the following cases where the subject of the abuse is named:

• five further cases of sexual assault;

• eight further cases of indecent assault or other sexual abuse; and

• one further case involving both sexual assault and indecent assault.

Furthermore, the Taskforce review of Defence documents has identified:

• reports of sexual assault of at least eight unnamed individuals during 1996-1998;

• a report by one individual that she was aware of at least six other female cadets who alleged being raped in 1996; and

• a report by an ADFA staff member of being aware of between six to 10 first hand complaints of sexual assault in 1997.

Consequently, the Taskforce is aware of at least 33 women who reportedly experienced sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990, and a significant further number of cases where the subject of the abuse is not named.

On 16 October 2013, the Taskforce Chair provided the former CDF with an analysis of the 19 cases which the Taskforce believes were the subject of the Grey Review. This analysis identified at least 12 still serving members of Defence suspected of committing sexual or other offences at ADFA in the 1990s and made recommendations for Defence to consider taking further action in 13 cases.

(ii) Referral to Defence

As the Taskforce has never had the investigative power or authority to take direct action against Defence members, it has always been the case that the ‘ADFA 24’ matters would be referred back to Defence to take action where possible and appropriate.

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In 2012, following receipt of the DLA Piper Review, the then CDF directed ADFIS to conduct a review of these cases. In early October 2012, the Provost Marshal provided the ADFIS brief on the cases to the then CDF and recommended that the allegations of sexual offences and related offences should be referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

On 28 November 2012, the Provost Marshal informed the Chair of the Taskforce that he had been directed not to refer those matters to civilian police pending the outcome of the Taskforce consideration of them. The Chair formally advised the Provost Marshal that Defence should take whatever action it would ordinarily take about those matters (or any others), including referral to civilian police, without waiting for the Taskforce to consider them.

The Taskforce is not aware of Defence having referred any of these matters to the civilian police following the receipt of the ADFIS brief in October 2012.

In December 2013, Defence asked the Taskforce to contact all complainants whose cases fell within this cluster of cases to request their consent to inform Defence that they had made a complaint to the Taskforce; to provide Defence with any documents that contained significant additional material relevant to their case; and also whether they ‘explicitly do not agree’ to Defence taking further action in relation to their matter. The Taskforce made significant efforts to contact the then six complainants and subsequently provided Defence with further information about four complainants, with their consent.

(iii) Further Action

The Taskforce has placed a high priority on assessing complaints made by women who experienced sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990s.

The Taskforce Chair will shortly write to the CDF to provide an analysis of an additional 14 cases of sexual abuse of women at ADFA during the mid-1990s identified in its further review of Defence documents.

The Taskforce is currently preparing a de-identified public report on the abuse that occurred at ADFA, and plans to table this report in Parliament before the end of the year. Appendix D is a chronology of the key actions taken by the Taskforce in relation to the cases of sexual abuse occurring at ADFA in the mid-1990s to date.

6.4 Engagement with the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service The Taskforce has a productive working relationship with the Asutralian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) and continues to engage on an ad hoc basis regarding Taskforce RFIs. ADFIS continue to provide the Taskforce with a timely response on all RFIs.

The Taskforce has taken steps to assist ADFIS by sharing electronic files. On 5 August 2014, the Taskforce provided 3 discs containing electronic copies of all material provided by ADFIS in hard copy.

The Taskforce will continue to engage directly with ADFIS as necessary.

6.5 Engagement with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs The Taskforce continues to work closely with the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) through our formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

As at 11 August 2014, the Taskforce had received 18 requests for further information from DVA. The Taskforce had also made 1 request for information from DVA.

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The Taskforce has also been involved in ongoing consultation with DVA on the provision of information surrounding systemic and cultural issues that may be useful for the assessment of DVA claims. The Taskforce recognises that its work may potentially be of assistance to DVA in its consideration of applications from claimants for pensions or other entitlements. Importantly, the provision of this information may also assist in minimising the distress experienced by claimants endeavouring to substantiate their claims of abuse, particularly where there is limited evidence available.

To date, the Taskforce has begun to provide DVA with statistical information outlining the locations with the highest incidents of abuse, the types of abuse and date ranges during which the abuse occurred. This information is presented in a manner that ensures it does not identify any personal information or breach any obligations required by the Privacy Act 1988. This statistical information may assist in streamlining DVA’s evidence gathering process for liability and compensation claims. The Taskforce acknowledges that it is a matter for DVA whether or not they take account of this information in their assessment process, noting that its process is separate to that of the Taskforce and underpinned by different standards of proof.

Additionally, the Taskforce Terms of Reference require the Taskforce to look at systemic issues within Defence and contribute to the current processes of reform of Defence culture and practices. The Taskforce has built a sophisticated Case Management System that allows it to capture useful data to better inform the Taskforce about wider systemic issues. Whilst a clear picture of systemic issues will not be apparent until all the information provided to the Taskforce had been analysed; once complete, the Taskforce will report on and provide any relevant observations from this statistical data to DVA.

6.6 Engagement with police services The National Protocol for the Dissemination of Information to Commonwealth, State and Territory Police from the Taskforce (the National Protocol) remains the governing instrument under which the Taskforce shares information with police agencies. The Taskforce continues to engage productively with law enforcement agencies and refer matters to police as required.

The Taskforce is also continuing to engage with police agencies to effectively manage matters where the complainant has sought assessment and possible investigation of their complaint by police and also wants to participate in the Restorative Engagement Program. This has created some delay in complainants accessing the Restorative Engagement Program to ensure active police investigations are not affected, however, this caution ensures that complainants are able to access all of their desired Taskforce outcomes without one outcome impacting negatively on another.

6.7 Engagement with the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee On 27 March 2014, the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee (Senate Committee) announced that it would be inquiring into the accessibility and adequacy of the current mechanisms to provide support to victims of sexual and other abuse in Defence, for inquiry and report by 28 August 2014. This report will be released after the Seventh Interim Report is finalised.

With reference to the Senate Committee’s earlier report into the review of allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence, the inquiry was tasked with reviewing the accessibility and adequacy of current mechanisms and processes to provide support to victims of sexual and other abuse in Defence, taking into account:

a. the Taskforce’s process to date;

b. Defence’s response to the DLA Piper Review and the work of the Taskforce;

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c. successive governments’ responses to the DLA Piper Review and the work of the Taskforce;

d. the desirability of releasing a true reflection of Volume 2 of the DLA Piper Review in a redacted form or by way of a summary; and

e. any related matters.

The Senate Committee received 23 submissions (as well as four additional supplementary submissions) including a submission from the Taskforce. The Taskforce submission addressed the Senate Committee’s Terms of Reference, with particular focus on Term of Reference (a) and (d). A copy of this submission is available at Appendix E.

In addition, the Taskforce, with the agreement of the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General’s Office provided access to Volume 2 of the DLA Piper Report to members of the Senate Committee at Parliament House on 17 July 2014, 30 July 2014 and 11 August 2014.

Volume 2 of the DLA Piper Report contains detailed, highly sensitive, personal information and specific recommendations dealing with individual complainants of abuse. In order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those individuals, the Taskforce provided this information to the Senate Committee under strict conditions in a secure room at Parliament House.

The Taskforce Chair and Executive Director also took part in the public hearing on 13 August 2014. All submissions, transcripts and the Senate Committee’s final report will be made available on the Senate Committee’s page available of the Parliament of Australia website at http://www.aph.gov.au/.

The Taskforce will respond to the Senate Committee’s report when it becomes available.

6.8 Psychological Support Team The Psychological Support Team provides ‘in-house’ support to Taskforce staff, in recognition of the potential for staff to be vicariously traumatised or significantly distressed when supporting complainants who have experienced serious abuse. Support is provided in a range of ways.

Staff members are offered regular wellbeing sessions where a psychologist meets individually with the staff member and discusses the work at the Taskforce and the impact it may be having on the staff member. Strategies to enhance resilience and wellness are discussed and tailored to the individual needs of the staff member.

If difficulties are identified through the wellbeing session options for support are discussed with the staff member, including referral to the Employee Assistance Program or an outside agency if warranted.

Staff members are also provided with information and education through their regular team meetings on how to maintain resilience and psychological wellness. Some staff members are provided with more specific training according to their needs, for example staff members who are in daily phone contact with complainants have been provided with training on dealing with highly distressed individuals over the phone.

The Psychological Support Team also provides input into the delivery and management of the Defence Abuse Counselling Program.

6.9 Operations Group The Taskforce Operations Group continues to focus on the design, implementation, training and support of the systems and policies underlying how information is captured by the Taskforce. Information is captured primarily within the Taskforce’s Case Management System (CMS) and the Electronic Document Management System (TRIM).

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The Taskforce CMS holds the details of the approximately 2400 complainants who had lodged a complaint with the Taskforce. Using the CMS, the Taskforce is able to cross-reference alleged abusers, supervisors, investigating officers, locations, dates and the nature of abuse alleged. This enables a variety of activities ranging from identifying serial perpetrators to gathering statistical information used in parliamentary reporting.

As at 11 August 2014, the Operations Group was managing a total of 149,537 TRIM documents and 46,490 documents in the CMS.

A primary focus of the Operations Group is ensuring and finalising the quality of information contained within the CMS and TRIM. This quality assurance task will ensure that the Taskforce can provide meaningful demographic information for systemic reporting and to inform Defence’s Pathway to Change program.

During the period covered by this Report, the Operations Group also continued to make business improvements to information systems and standardised operational procedures. The Group has also continued to deliver training and education to staff members.

6.10 Taskforce Funding The Taskforce is administratively housed in the Attorney-General’s Department, with all expenses related to the work of the Taskforce including Reparation Payments being met by the Department of Defence.

The total estimated cost of funding the Taskforce between 2012-13 and 2015-16 is $157.3 million.

This funding is comprised of two measures:

1. Costs associated with the administration of the Taskforce ($35.0 million).

This includes funding for the Taskforce Leadership Group, Executive and Administrative staff, IT, the Case Management System and for accommodation.

2. Costs associated with the delivery of Taskforce outcomes ($122.3 million)

This includes funding for the Complainant Support Group, Reparation Payments to complainants, caseworkers, counselling, restorative engagement, and crime and administrative action.

Table 1: Service Delivery Budget—2013-14 financial year (millions)

Costs 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Total

Costs Associated with Administration of the Taskforce 5.9 12.3 9.7 7.1 35.0

Costs associated with the delivery of Taskforce outcomes 1.0 41.2 69.1 11.0 122.3

TOTAL 157.3

The funding arrangements recognise that some programs to deliver certain outcomes, including the Restorative Engagement Program, are expected to operate through to the end of 2015/16.

Expenditure

As at 31 July 2014, the Taskforce’s total expenditure since its establishment was approximately $67.2 million. This figure compromises $19.4 million expended on costs associated with the administration of the Taskforce, and $47.8 million on delivery of outcomes.

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7. Systemic Issues

The Taskforce is required by its Terms of Reference to liaise with the Minister for Defence, the CDF and the Secretary of the Department of Defence on any implications of its work for Defence’s Pathways to Change and other responses to the series of reviews into Defence culture and practices.

7.1 Systemic reporting As noted in the Taskforce’s Sixth Interim Report, reporting on systemic issues will occur in three Taskforce publications:

• the HMAS Leeuwin Report;

• the ADFA Report; and

• a final Taskforce report.

(a) The HMAS Leeuwin Report The Taskforce report regarding HMAS Leeuwin was tabled in Parliament alongside the Taskforce’s Sixth Interim Report. This report, based on the personal accounts of more that 200 former Junior Recruits, revealed disturbing patterns of abuse and mismanagement including, for example, some serious incidents of sexual abuse by staff members who appear not to have been punished; numerous incidents of sexual abuse by Junior Recruits; relentless bullying and physical abuse by Junior Recruits based on an informal hierarchy system, while some staff members ‘turned a blind eye’; persistent use of harsh training and disciplinary practices that went beyond what was reasonable for 15 to 17 year old recruits; some subjects of abuse becoming abusers themselves; and a ‘culture of silence’ which meant that many Junior Recruits did not report abuse to which they were subjected.

All of the HMAS Leeuwin complaints assessed as raising one or more plausible allegations of abuse have also been assessed as including one or more plausible cases of Defence mismanagement. In some cases complainants indicate that they reported abuse to HMAS Leeuwin staff members who did not respond appropriately. In a larger number of cases complainants indicate that they did not report abuse for a number of reasons including fear of retribution; fear of possible discharge; because they did not trust that staff members would respond appropriately; or because staff members were responsible for the abuse. The Taskforce has found that such complaints raise plausible cases of Defence mismanagement, as the pattern or practice of abuse at HMAS Leeuwin was such that Defence can be considered to had known that abuse was occurring and yet failed to take appropriate action in response.

The Taskforce has received 238 complaints regarding abuse alleged to have occurred at HMAS Leeuwin. As at 30 July 2014, assessments have been finalised in relation to 215 complaints. The remaining complaints are in the process of being assessed; have been withdrawn; or complainants cannot be contacted by the Taskforce.

The HMAS Leeuwin report is available on the Taskforce website.

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(b) The ADFA Report The Taskforce Terms of Reference require it to assess the “24 Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) cases noted by DLA Piper”. Detailed reports regarding the so-called ‘ADFA 24’ cases are contained in the Taskforce’s Third and Fourth Interim Reports.

In the Sixth Interim Report, the Taskforce reported that seven people whose allegations form part of the ‘24 ADFA cases’ had come forward and made complaints. The Taskforce has now received complaints from 11 women who allege that they experienced sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990s. In addition, the Taskforce has been contacted by an additional three women who allege that they experienced sexual abuse at ADFA during the same period of time as this cluster of cases (1991—1998) and are considering whether they will make a complaint. The Taskforce will continue to accept complaints from women who experienced sexual abuse at ADFA during this time period.

The Taskforce has received 72 complaints relating to abuse alleged to had occurred at ADFA. The assessment of the vast majority of these complaints is complete.

The Taskforce will produce a de-identified public report regarding abuse alleged to had occurred at ADFA, including the cases of sexual abuse occurring in the mid-1990s, later this year.

(c) The Final Report As noted in the Sixth Interim Report, the final Taskforce report will include detailed statistical information about the complaints received by the Taskforce, including information about the types of abuse, where abuse occurred and during what time period, and collated information about both complainants and alleged abusers.

The report will also include a narrative description of the abuse that has occurred across Defence. This description will be organised by service, and will include locational case studies on establishments where abuse appears to had been most common. The report will include some analysis of patterns of abuse that are evident in the complaints received by the Taskforce and of any factors that appear to have contributed to abuse occurring. In addition, the report will detail some of the issues arising in relation to Defence management of reports of abuse. Finally, the report will note areas in which there may be benefit in conducting more detailed analysis of the significant amount of data held by the Taskforce.

The final Taskforce report will provide an important record of the complaints to the Taskforce of abuse occurring within Defence over many decades, and will make a constructive contribution to ongoing efforts in Defence to prevent, stop and respond to abuse.

7.2 Statistical information The Sixth Interim Report included preliminary statistical information regarding complaints. That Report also noted that this statistical information might change once all assessments are complete and quality assurance work had been completed.

As at 11 August 2014, the Taskforce had fully assessed 1892 complaints. An updated version of the statistical information from the Sixth Interim Report is provided below.

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(a) Type of abuse Cases assessed to date by the Taskforce include the following types of abuse:

• Physical abuse—raised in 31% of cases;

• Sexual abuse—raised in 24% of cases;

• Sexual harassment—raised in 8% of cases; and

• Bullying and harassment—raised in 37% of cases.

(b) Mismanagement Of the cases assessed to date by the Taskforce, 81% have been assessed to include a plausible case of Defence mismanagement.

(c) Location of abuse The following locations accounted for the highest number of cases of abuse:

• HMAS Leeuwin—Fremantle, WA—9%;

• Army Recruit Training Centre, Blamey Barracks, Kapooka—Wagga Wagga, NSW—7%;

• HMAS Cerberus—Crib Point, VIC—6%;

• Holsworthy Barracks—Sydney NSW—4%;

• Puckapunyal Military/Training Area—Puckapunyal VIC -3%;

• Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA)—Campbell ACT—3%;

• RAAF Base Wagga—Wagga Wagga NSW—3%;

• HMAS Nirimba, Quakers Hill—Sydney NSW—3%;

• RAAF Base Edinburgh/Edinburgh Defence Precinct—Edinburgh SA -3%; and

• Army Apprentice School, Balcombe Barracks—Balcombe VIC—2%.

It must be noted that complaints received by the Taskforce relate to abuse that has occurred over a wide date range. Information regarding the time periods within which abuse occurred at specific locations will be provided in the final report.

(d) Complainants The following preliminary information can be provided about individuals who made complaints to the Taskforce:

• sex of complainant: 72% of complainants are male; 28% of complainants are female; and

• complainant’s service: 26% of complainants are still serving; 74% of complainants are no longer serving.

The Taskforce is not yet able to provide statistical information about alleged abusers, but will do so when assessments are complete and data quality assurance work has been conducted.

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8. Conclusion

This Report demonstrates that the Taskforce continues to make significant progress in delivering outcomes to complainants while providing them with one-on-one support throughout the process. Since 31 May 2014, the Taskforce has focused on finalising any partially assessed matters following the receipt of requested information. So long as the requested information is received in a timely manner, the Taskforce anticipates that all assessments will be finalised by 30 September 2014.

The Taskforce is mindful of its obligation under the Terms of Reference to liaise with Defence on any implications of its work for Defence’s Pathway to Change program. The Taskforce is meeting this obligation through consultation with Defence Senior Leadership, detailed parliamentary reports, the referral of still-serving abusers to the CDF for consideration of administrative or disciplinary action and by offering senior Defence representatives the opportunity to participate in facilitated Conferences under the Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program.

The Taskforce is also mindful that it is required under the Terms of Reference to advise the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General on whether, and in what form, the Taskforce should continue after 30 November 2014. The Taskforce is actively considering these ‘legacy issues’ and will advise the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General in due course.

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APPENDIX A: Taskforce Terms of Reference

DEFENCE ABUSE RESPONSE TASKFORCE APPOINTMENT OF TASKFORCE CHAIR AND TASKFORCE TERMS OF REFERENCE

We hereby appoint the Honourable Len Roberts-Smith RFD, QC to lead the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce to operate in accordance with the following terms of reference as part of the Australian Government’s response to DLA Piper’s Report of the Review of allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse in the Australian Defence Force.

The Taskforce is to:

(i) assess the findings of the DLA Piper review and the material gathered by that review, and any additional material available to the Taskforce concerning complaints of sexual and other forms of abuse by Defence personnel alleged to have occurred prior to 11 April 2011,the date of the announcement of the DLA Piper Review;

(ii) include in this assessment the 24 Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) cases noted by DLA Piper and the cases of abuse identified by reports into physical violence and bullying at HMAS Leeuwin, and whether the alleged victims, perpetrators and witnesses in relation to these cases remain in Defence;

(iii) determine, in close consultation with those who have made complaints, appropriate actions in response to those complaints;

(iv) will also, as appropriate, gather additional information relevant to consideration of the handling of particular allegations eg relevant records held by Defence

(v) take account of the rights and interests of alleged victims, accused persons and other parties;

(vi) liaise with the Minister for Defence, Chief of the Defence Force and the Secretary of the Department of Defence on any implications of its work for Defence’s ‘Pathway to Change’ and other responses to the series of reviews into Defence culture and practices in particular the work done by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner into the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and ADFA;

(vii) report to the Attorney-General and Minister for Defence every 3 months on its progress and issues arising, including whether the funding it has been provided is adequate so as to enable the Attorney General and Minister for Defence to report to Parliament as appropriate

(viii) report to the Attorney-General and Minister for Defence by October 2013 on whether, in what form, the Taskforce should continue in effect beyond the initial 12 month period and the funding that would be required so as to enable the Attorney General and Minister for Defence to report to Parliament as appropriate; and

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(ix) to advise whether a Royal Commission would be merited into any categories of allegation raised with the DLA Piper review or the Taskforce, in particular the 24 ADFA cases.

The terms and conditions of the engagement by the Commonwealth of the Honourable Len Roberts-Smith RFD, QC are to be governed by an agreement between the Honourable Len Roberts-Smith RFD, QC and Roger Wilkins AO, Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department.

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APPENDIX B: Key meetings undertaken by the Chair of the Taskforce

KEY MEETINGS UNDERTAKEN BY THE CHAIR OF THE TASKFORCE

12 June 2014 Meeting with General David Hurley, AC, DSC, former Chief of the Defence Force, Canberra.

20 June 2014 Telephone conference with Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, former Chief of Navy, Canberra.

24 June 2014 Meeting with Justice Peter McClellan AM, QC, Chief Royal Commissioner of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Sydney.

25 June 2014 Meeting with Mr Dennis Richardson, Secretary of the Department of Defence, Canberra.

30 June 2014 Telephone conference with Lietenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army.

22 July 2014 Acting Chair, Mr Robert Cornall AO telephone conference with Lieutenant General David Morrison AO, Chief of Army, Canberra.

6 August 2014 Meeting with Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC, Chief of Navy, Canberra.

13 August 2014 Appeared before the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee with the Executive Director of the Taskforce, Mr Matt Hall.

28 August 2014 Meeting with Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN, Canberra.

29 August 2014 Meeting with Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC, Chief of the Defence Force, Canberra.

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APPENDIX C: Feedback from complainants

The Taskforce carefully considers all feedback received from complainants in order to further strengthen and develop its processes.

A brief selection of quotes from complainants is provided below. These quotes demonstrate the impact that the Taskforce is having on complainant’s lives. In particular, the Taskforce has received feedback in relation to the HMAS Leeuwin Report, which was released on 18 June 2014.

All quotes had been de-identified and provided with the consent of the complainant.

Complainant E, 2013/1518

Thank you for your phone call. I am sorry if I may have sounded ungrateful with my reaction to your information about Ms Kruk’s decision. I am still feeling rather SHELL SHOCKED. I am very grateful for your assistance and for walking me through this process which has been difficult to say the least.

At first I thought that this may OPEN A CAN OF WORMS, it turned out to be more like a HORNETS NEST. However, I think the end is in sight and do feel somewhat relieved now that I have been able to share my experience with people who actually do care.

I sincerely believe that it will assist in bringing about much needed change in the ADF, and therefore will have been very worthwhile in the end. Thank you for the opportunity, but I do not wish to add anything further to my statement. Rather, it is time for healing and letting go.

Apart from the above, I am really lost for words.

Complainant F, 2013/1183

Dear Sir,

Letter of Appreciation

I would like to personally thank you, and a few others that I will name in how my application had been handled.

You Sir in particular, for honestly taking an interest in how my application was progressing. Your open and clear correspondence which certainly made me see what was really happening, against the cloudy biased mess that was given to me by persons you are aware of. For the work you have done and are doing not only with my application but the applications of all, to the [Taskforce]…

[Name] for truly going above and beyond the call of duty, often in his own time, after hours at night and weekends. I cannot praise this man highly enough. I do not know if there are awards in the APS but if there are [he] should be on top of the list of nominations for them. I know that I am not alone in thinking this.

[Complainant Support Group Officer], I do not know her last name for giving me a chance to talk openly without rebuttal and offering of helpful advice. She does a wonderful job and helped me enormously, probably without knowing through some of my hardest times. I cannot offer her enough thanks and please let her know this.

Lastly, [Name] my case co-ordinator, he too listened to me again in some of my hardest times without criticism. I believe he did his best for me also. I look forward to working with [Name] in the near future with regards to my counselling and especially my restorative engagement.

Again Sir, my many thanks.

You may publish this letter on your web site if you desire, all I ask is that you only use my initials not my full name.

Yours sincerely,

[Complainant’s Name]

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Complainant G, 2013/1358

Dear Sir, thank you very much for the copy of “Report on abuse at HMAS Leeuwin”. I want to take this opportunity to once again thank EVERYONE at [the Taskforce] , my case co-ordinator and so many others who rang, asked how I was, and gave so much support. I have let it be known on various sites that [the Taskforce] did a sterling job, where as, there were people complaining! Well done anyway , much appreciated. Sincerely, [Complainant’s Name].

Complainant H, 2013/2213

Hi [Case Coordinator]

Thanks for the support, I am not denying it is a bit over whelming and some of the atrocious things that happened and a lot of us knew it happened but never spoke out because of the stigma that would have been attached to us in those years would not had made it easier. I at times before I was ill myself tried to help the younger more vulnerable but only got into troubles myself, a couple people and incidents that I have recognized in the report and hope they are ok and doing well.

I am ok a bit emotional about it all remembering those years and the consequence of the couple of years after my discharge but now I am sure my parents have a better understanding now of what I and others went through. It has not been till the last couple of years I have been able to talk to anyone about it but am sure there is only brightness for the future for many of us.

Thanks again for your support and thanks for the follow up that is just as important and am now thinking that at least I may be able to get a service pension from this instead of the disability pension from centre link.

Hope your weekend was a good one.

[Complainant’s Name]

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APPENDIX D: ‘ADFA 24’ Chronology

The table below provides an overview of the key actions that have been undertaken in relation to the ‘ADFA 24’, which are a group of allegations of sexual abuse at ADFA in the 1990s that are specifically referred to in the Taskforce Terms of Reference.

KEY ACTIONS TAKEN IN RELATION TO THE ‘ADFA 24’

June 1998 The Grey Review identifies 24 allegations of sexual assault at ADFA between 1991 and 1998.

April 2011—April 2012 DLA Piper Review concludes that there was a high level of sexual assault at ADFA during this period in the mid-1990s and that the perpetrators, if still in the ADF, will have risen to middle and senior management positions.

6 August 2012 ADFIS commences assessment of this cluster of cases.

4 October 2012 The Former Provost Marshal (ADF) provides the ADFIS briefing on these cases to the former CDF and recommends that the allegations of sexual offences and related offences should be referred to the Australian Federal Police. The Taskforce understands that this briefing included the names of victims and perpetrators.

26 November 2012 Taskforce is established, with specific instructions to assess the 24 ADFA cases noted by DLA Piper.

28 November 2012 The Chair and the Executive Director of the Taskforce attend a meeting with the Provost Marshal at Defence.

The Chair of the Taskforce formally advises the Provost Marshal that Defence should take whatever action it would ordinarily take in relation to these matters without waiting for the Taskforce to consider them.

December 2012 ADFIS provides the Taskforce with a large number of documents from Defence relating to the allegations of sexual abuse at ADFA in the mid-1990s. The Taskforce commences the process of reviewing all of the available documentation held by Defence.

The Former CDF reports in the media that about ten Defence Force members suspected in the involvement of sexual assault of female cadets were still serving in Defence.

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KEY ACTIONS TAKEN IN RELATION TO THE ‘ADFA 24’

16 October 2013

The Chair of the Taskforce provides the former CDF with a detailed analysis of the cases referred to in the DLA Piper Review Report. This analysis:

• identifies at least 12 still serving members of Defence suspected of committing sexual or other offences at ADFA in the 1990s;

• makes recommendations for Defence to consider taking further action in 13 cases; and

• includes a number of general observations.

December 2013

Defence asks the Taskforce to contact all complainants whose cases fall within the ‘ADFA 24’ to request their consent to:

• inform Defence that they had made a complaint to the Taskforce;

• provide Defence with any documents that contained significant additional material relevant to their case; and

• confirm whether they ‘explicitly do not agree’ to Defence taking further action in relation to their matter.

16 April 2014

The Chair of the Taskforce writes to the CDF to inform him of the outcome of these enquiries, including information that:

• 4 complainants had consented to Defence being informed they had made a complaint;

• 2 complainants had consented to their Personal Account being provided to Defence; and

• 2 complainants had not responded to the request for further information, despite repeated efforts being made to contact them.

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APPENDIX E: Taskforce submission to the Senate Committee

30 June 2014

Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens Chair Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee PO Box 6100 Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Stephens

Thank you for the opportunity for the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce (Taskforce) to present a submission to your Committee’s inquiry into the mechanisms to support victims of sexual and other abuse in Defence.

In support of the inquiry, I would like to provide you with further information in relation to the work of the Taskforce as it relates to a. and d. in your Terms of Reference. I do not intend in this submission to offer a view on the Terms of Reference b. and c.

I note information about our consultation and work with the Department of Defence, Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Australian Federal Police has already been provided in submissions to the Committee. I will not duplicate that information here.

Further, much information about our work is already in the public arena and contained in our quarterly reports. These reports document our work and progress to date and also describe some of the hurdles faced along the way. These reports can be found at our website: http://www.defenceabusetaskforce.gov.au.

The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce Process to Date

On 26 November 2012, the then Minister for Defence announced the Australian Government’s response to the DLA Piper review. The response included:

• a general apology,

• the establishment of the Taskforce,

• implementation of a capped compensation scheme to make reparation payments, and

• a telephone hotline.

The primary focus of the Taskforce has been, and remains, the assessment and referral for resolution of all individual allegations considered by DLA Piper and referred, with consent, to the Taskforce, as well as all new allegations of abuse registered with the Taskforce by 31 May 2013.

The Taskforce has approximately 2400 registered complainants. It is anticipated that approximately 2000 will ultimately be found to be in scope of the Taskforce Terms of Reference and plausible. As each individual may be offered all or some of the five separate outcomes identified under the Terms of Reference, this results in approximately 10,000 separate individual outcomes staff may have to determine and provide.

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The Terms of Reference also require the Taskforce to undertake, amongst other things, an assessment of the 24 Australian Defence Force Academy cases, HMAS Leeuwin cases and to liaise with the Minister for Defence, Chief of the Defence Force, and Secretary on any implications of our work for Defence’s Pathway to Change or other systemic or cultural reviews.

As well as this, the Taskforce provides the Minister for Defence with Quarterly Interim Reports detailing our work to date, and considers on a frequent basis whether a Royal Commission would be merited into any category of allegations raised.

With the huge tasks required to be undertaken, as you will appreciate, the work had to be prioritised. However, I believe this is being done in a manner that is logical and pragmatic and I am happy to inform the Committee that the Taskforce is undertaking all of the work required under our Terms of Reference.

a. The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce Process to Date

UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE

The underlying principle of the Taskforce’s work is to do no further harm to the complainant. With that in mind, the Taskforce received advice from experts that it should not seek out individuals to register allegations of abuse. Therefore the Taskforce relied upon various forms of media to raise awareness of our work. At different points in time, the Taskforce widely advertised our work in newspapers and other media, informing people of the deadlines for registration and the provision of personal account forms.

DEADLINES

As the Taskforce has not been established as an ongoing Agency, the former Minister determined a date on or prior to which abuse must have taken place for a complainant to be considered, and, a date upon which to register with the Taskforce. These dates were 11 April 2011 and 31 May 2013 respectively.

Deadlines for registration and the provision of personal account forms were necessary to ensure the work of the Taskforce could be implemented in an efficient and timely manner.

PARAMETERS

Work of the Taskforce is undertaken in accordance with our Terms of Reference. The Taskforce is unable to consider allegations of abuse that do not fall within our definitions of abuse or that did not occur on or prior to 11 April 2011.

The allegations of abuse considered range from sexual abuse, physical abuse, sexual harassment, workplace harassment and bullying.

A number of definitions are provided below. However, these definitions are for general guidance only and should not be considered exhaustive.

Sexual abuse means unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, committed against a person without their consent. It does not require physical contact between the person and the alleged abuser and can include conduct in the presence of the person.

Sexual harassment is unwanted and non-consensual conduct of a sexual nature.

Workplace harassment includes offensive, demeaning, humiliating, intimidating or threatening behaviour that is unwelcome, unsolicited, usually unreciprocated and often repeated.

Bullying is a form of harassment and is repeated behaviour that does not show respect.

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OTHER TERMINOLOGY

At the commencement of the Taskforce, after receiving expert advice on the issue, the Taskforce decided to use the term ‘complainants’ rather than ‘victims’ to describe those individuals who registered allegations of abuse with us. The advice the Taskforce received was that many individuals who have experienced abuse do not see themselves as ‘victims’ and object to the term being used. They also indicated that some consider themselves to be ‘survivors’ rather than ‘victims’ of abuse and view the term ‘victim’ to be disempowering.

This is one of the reasons the Taskforce decided to use the term ‘complainant’ to refer generally to individuals who made reports to the Taskforce. The other reason was that the Taskforce received reports from individuals who were not themselves victims of abuse, rather they reported abuse on behalf of someone else, or, they witnessed the abuse. Therefore, the term ‘complainant’ captured all individuals who registered with the Taskforce.

ASSISTANCE

Given the difficult issues that Taskforce is dealing with, it established the Complainant Support Group at the outset. This Group has staff with prior experience in dealing with individuals who have experienced abuse and is the only Group in direct contact with complainants.

This Group provided assistance to complainants to complete their Personal Account Forms and continues to provide assistance to complainants in determining what outcomes they wish to pursue and assist them during the implementation of those outcomes.

The Complainant Support Group also provides each complainant with information on whether a reparation payment could have implications in relation to any current or potential claim lodged with the Department of Veterans Affairs. This information is provided in a factsheet and available on our website at: http://www.defenceabusetaskforce.gov.au/Outcomes/Pages/DefenceAbuseReparationScheme.aspx

WHEN THE TASKFORCE CAN TAKE ACTION

The Taskforce is able to assess all complaints that were previously made to DLA Piper where those individuals provided consent to transfer their matter. DLA Piper determined not to provide the Taskforce with information where individuals did not provide consent.

In instances where DLA Piper provided the Taskforce with information, recommendations in relation to specific allegations set out in Parts 1-23 of Volume 2 is taken into account as well as all other information received in relation to an individual as part of our assessment process.

The Taskforce also assesses complaints that were made by individuals directly prior to 31 May 2013.

Where complaints fall within our Terms of Reference, the Taskforce is able to offer up to five separate outcomes. It is for complainants to determine which of these outcomes they wish to pursue.

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CRIMINAL ACTION

Whilst the Taskforce will assess whether a particular incident of abuse may constitute a criminal offence, and, in appropriate cases provide the complainant with the option to refer that to the relevant policing agency, the Taskforce will not refer any matter to police without the express consent of the complainant.

Given the number of complaints received by the Taskforce, many interested parties are surprised how few have been referred to police authorities. There are two main reasons for this.

The first is that where the alleged abuse occurred a long time ago and was never reported, the prospect of a successful criminal investigation will often not be good.

The second, more important, reason is that the majority of complainants whose allegations could be referred to police simply do not want that. In most instances the abuse has resulted in the complainant being traumatised and suffering physical, emotional and psychological damage, sometimes for decades. They do not wish to experience further trauma from the involvement in a lengthy and difficult process of a police prosecution with an uncertain outcome.

The Taskforce respects this and will not refer a complainant’s matter to police without consent.

ADMINISTRATIVE SANCTION OR MANAGEMENT ACTION

The Taskforce takes a similar approach to referrals for disciplinary or administrative sanction or management action by the Taskforce Chair to the Chief of Defence Force or Secretary of Defence. Generally, the Chair will not refer these matters where a complainant had not provided consent.

However, where there is a still serving member of the Defence Force against whom allegations of abuse have been made and found plausible by the Taskforce, the Chair will further consider whether there are any potential risks to other still serving members. If the Chair determines it necessary to refer a matter without consent, it will be referred in a way that as far as possible protects the confidentiality of the complainant.

When the Taskforce refers a matter to Defence, it is important to ensure that the complainant is aware that Defence may contact them to obtain information and most likely request a statement upon which to make an administrative decision.

ANONYMOUS COMPLAINTS OR ALLEGATIONS IN THE MEDIA

As noted above, the Taskforce was established to provide outcomes to complainants. The provision of outcomes to an individual necessarily requires the Taskforce to know who that individual is. Therefore, the Taskforce is unable to deal with anonymous complaints or allegations in the media in relation to individuals not registered with the Taskforce.

That said, the Taskforce does consider allegations in the media and anonymous complaints it may hold when considering cultural and systemic issues.

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DIFFERENT STANDARDS OF PROOF

As mentioned in other submissions, the standard of proof applied by the Taskforce in determining whether or not to accept an allegation of abuse and provide an outcome to a complainant is that of plausibility.

Plausibility is a lower standard of proof than that applied by the Department of Defence when it determines whether or not to commence disciplinary or administrative sanction. It is lower than that applied by the Department of Veterans Affairs in determining whether or not to accept a claim. And, it is lower than the Australian Federal Police applies in determining whether to proceed to prosecution after a police investigation.

The Taskforce is aware that this different standard of proof can be confusing. However, the standard of “plausibility” was stipulated by the former Minister for Defence so that the Taskforce could provide outcomes to as many complainants as possible.

Noting that much of the alleged abuse occurred many years ago and was never reported at the time, the plausibility standard enables the Taskforce to proceed without the need for extensive, legally admissible evidence, which, over the passage of time, would be difficult if not impossible for a complainant to provide.

THE 35 SYSTEMIC ISSUES WHICH THE DLA PIPER REVIEW RECOMMENDED BE ADDRESSED

The 35 systemic issues raised in the DLA Piper Review are referenced under our Terms of Reference in relation to the Taskforce liaising with the Minister and others “on any implications of its work for Defence’s ‘Pathway to Change’ and other responses to a series of reviews into Defence…”.

The Taskforce has written to, and spoken with, Defence in relation to the DLA Piper recommendations and in relation to Defence’s progress on Pathway to Change and the Re-thinking Systems of Inquiry, Investigation and Review in Defence.

The Taskforce will continue to liaise with Defence and others in relation to these matters and when analysis of all of the documentation received is complete, any systemic issues or matters that may be significant and of interest will be raised with relevant parties. In that regard, the Taskforce will take into account the 35 systemic issues raised in the DLA Piper Report.

The Taskforce also notes that information received which can be shared with and is relevant to the work of the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) or others will be, or had been provided, or, in some cases, returned. This applies to, for example, materials initially provided to the Taskforce by ADFIS in relation to allegations concerning the ‘ADFA 24’.

RESOURCING

In earlier Interim Reports the Taskforce noted that there was an issue of resourcing compounded by the Caretaker provisions and subsequent recruitment freeze. The Taskforce is now able to inform the Committee that this issue had been alleviated. Throughout, the Taskforce had exercised flexibility in moving staff to areas with high demand and this had worked well so far.

Further, I inform the Committee that having adhered strictly to the Procurement Guidelines and requirements of the Financial Management Act and other relevant legislation, the Taskforce now had all our national programs running, including access to counselling and the Restorative Engagement Program. The strict application of the procurement guidelines now means that all of our programs are robust, fair and of the highest standard.

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THE INTERIM REPORTS

I am aware that certain individuals assert that some material within the Taskforce’s Interim Reports is incorrect and cannot be relied on. In fact, Taskforce staff work extremely hard to ensure that each report is accurate and to the best of my knowledge every Report reflects correct statements of how the Taskforce works and manages particular kinds of allegations. Necessarily, the Reports do not contain every piece of information being worked on by staff nor do they describe in minute detail every step of the processes undertaken; however, this does not and should not be taken to mean that case studies or statements in the Reports are incorrect.

CONSULTATION AND THE WORK OF OTHERS

The Taskforce has consulted and worked with the Department of Defence, Department of Veterans Affairs, Australian Federal Police and other policing agencies, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the William Kibby VC Veterans Shed and other organisations.

The Taskforce is acutely aware of the difficulties faced by the Department of Defence in circumstances where matters are referred for disciplinary or administrative sanction where privacy constraints require us to withhold certain information. Where a complainant does not provide consent to act the Department of Defence will often be unable to act given its legal duty to provide procedural fairness to alleged abusers.

The Taskforce is also aware that the lower standard of proof of plausibility is causing a great deal of concern for the Department of Defence. This is because when the Taskforce accepts a matter as plausible it increases a complainant’s expectations that their case will be similarly assessed under a higher standard of proof. This is not necessarily the case.

This lower standard of proof has also garnered much negative commentary in the public arena about the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Again, because the Taskforce is able to apply a lower standard of proof to complainant’s matters to accept their complaint this has increased the expectations that their case will be similarly assessed under a higher standard of proof when, this is not necessarily the case.

In spite of these difficulties (caused by the respective Terms or Reference or legislative foundations under which the Taskforce and other Departments and Agencies work, in each instance, the Taskforce has found the people it has worked with to be professional, courteous and genuinely supportive of our task.

The Taskforce would also like to note and thank Defence representatives who have volunteered to be part of the Restorative Engagement Program and have met individually with complainants. As a result of these Restorative Engagement Conferences, I note that in three cases the Department of Defence had agreed to look into amending the service records of certain individuals to correct a specific issue of concern, for example, the reason for discharge. Again, the Taskforce is aware there are different processes and standards of proof that must be applied in determining whether any change is possible, but I am grateful to the Department of Defence for its willingness to look itself at other ways in which to assist complainants during these Conferences.

The Taskforce looks forward to continued support as it further provides outcomes to complainants.

Despite the general professional behaviour displayed by those organisations named above, the Taskforce must note that a few organisations and individuals have appeared to actively hinder our work. The Taskforce has both written and oral feedback from complainants stating that the tactics undertaken by one individual has caused them considerable distress. In each instance, the Complainant Support Group has worked as a matter of urgency to assist these individuals and endeavour to reduce the detrimental impact created.

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As a result of complainant feedback and given the personal attacks upon both them and members of the Taskforce staff, it is now our policy to cease contact with these individuals and organisations in an attempt to minimise further harm.

Where a complainant wishes to be represented by such individuals and organisations our policy is explained to them and an offer is made for them to choose another person or organisation to represent them.

d. The desirability of releasing a true reflection of Volume 2 of the DLA Piper report in a redacted form or by way of a summary

There has been much discussion in the public arena as to why the Taskforce has not publicly released Volume 2 of the DLA Piper report. Whether or not to release Volume 2 is a matter for the Minister for Defence, not the Taskforce.

However, the Taskforce notes that Volume 2 of the DLA Piper Report contains detailed personal information and specific recommendations dealing with individual complaints of abuse. For privacy and fairness reasons, any published summary or redaction would need to remove information which could identify complainants and alleged abusers, together with information on individuals accused of mismanaging abuse incidents.

Given the fact that the majority of the content of Volume 2 is personal information, a redacted version would contain little information of substance, while still potentially risking the privacy of people who made complaints to DLA Piper.

Redacting Volume 2 in its entirety would be a significant undertaking in terms of time and resources.

The Taskforce is committed to protecting the privacy of people who have made complaints of abuse. However, I reiterate that the decision whether or not to release Volume 2—and if so, in what form— is a matter for the Minister.

As noted in the former Minister’s letter, Volume 2 of the DLA Piper Report was provided to the Taskforce as it would not had been appropriate to provide the information to the Secretary of Defence, Chief of the Defence Force and Service Chiefs given the information was provided for a specific purpose and the provision of such would likely breach the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988.

I hope this assists you with your important work. Should you wish to know any other information in relation to the Taskforce I am happy to provide a written response or to meet with you in person.

Yours sincerelyy

The Honourable Len Roberts-Smith RFD, QC Chair Defence Abuse Response Taskforce