National military compensation experts Slater and Gordon have today welcomed the military abuse Taskforce’s announcement of the Defence Abuse Reparation Scheme for victims of sexual and other abuse in the military.
Prominent military compensation lawyer, Brian Briggs, said the announcement is a major step forward for victims of abuse within the Australian Defence Forces and demonstrates the government’s compassion for the issue, including an apology delivered by the Minister for Defence last year.
“The announcement of the reparation scheme today means hundreds, of men and women who were subjected to various forms of abuse in the military will get the justice and reconciliation they deserve after years of inaction,” Mr Briggs said.
“The measures announced will also give former and current ADF members the opportunity to access necessary counselling and medical assistance, helping them turn a page on what would have been a traumatic and testing experience for them.”
Mr Briggs said the scheme has been formulated to allow genuine claimants a pathway to obtaining an acknowledgement and reparation for what they suffered in the military, with a tiered system in place to ensure victims are paid a form of reparation for their experiences.
"While the scheme is not intended as a replacement for compensation payments that reflect the abuse or the long term problems that follow, it goes at least some way to help the claimants in their healing process.
“Where I come from, any form of abuse is severe and unacceptable, and I trust that the Taskforce can get on with the job of eliminating the potential for further cases of abuse.”
Hundreds of defence personnel have contacted Slater and Gordon since the Defence Minister announced a review nearly two years ago and has been investigating claims of sexual and other abuse in the military.
Mr Briggs had pressed the Government for an ex gratia scheme to be established in the wake of the Skype scandal at Australian Defence Force Academy in 2011.
Mr Briggs also praised the Taskforce, saying he believed they were dealing with these matters intelligently and sensitively.
“We are at the beginning of this process and the newly appointed Taskforce still faces many challenges. I look forward to working with them to meet these challenges head on and achieve good outcomes for our clients,” Mr Briggs said.