From: DART Media
Date: 3 September 2014 10:22:52 AM AEST

Senior Defence representatives meet with people who suffered abuse

More than 190 senior Defence representatives across Australia have taken part in preparation sessions to enable them to meet with people who suffered abuse in Defence in private conferences organised by the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, according to a report tabled today in Parliament by the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon David Johnston.

The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce’s latest interim report provides an overview of the significant progress that has been made in providing outcomes to people who suffered abuse in Defence.

“Since its establishment, the Taskforce’s focus has been developing programs to provide tailored, practical outcomes to individuals,” said the Chair of the Taskforce, the Hon Len Roberts-Smith QC.

“The outcome in each case will depend on the personal circumstances of the complainant, but might be a Reparation Payment or the opportunity to meet with a senior Defence representative in a conference arranged under the world-first Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program.”

As at 11 August 2014, the Taskforce had held 48 Restorative Engagement Conferences and made more than 870 Reparation Payments, totalling in excess of $36 million. As at that date, the Taskforce had also arranged 917 counselling sessions under its national Counselling Program and referred 73 cases to State and Territory police for assessment.

Mr Roberts-Smith also confirmed that the Taskforce will continue to provide outcomes to complainants beyond 30 November 2014, when his term as Chair concludes.

“I have advised the Minister for Defence and Attorney-General that I am not able to accept a further extension of my appointment as Chair of the Taskforce,” he said.

“However, I am absolutely confident that the level of service provided to complainants by the highly skilled staff of the Taskforce will not be affected by a change in leadership.”

Mr Roberts-Smith was originally appointed for a 12-month term from 26 November 2012 and has since accepted two extensions.

The Seventh Interim Report is available for download on the Taskforce website.

Media contact: email georgia.flynn@ag.gov.au or call 0477 763 825