Leading Slater and Gordon Military Compensation Lawyer Brian Briggs has called on Defence to continue to provide a reparation scheme for abused military personnel.
Mr Briggs said the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce reparation scheme, which wraps up today (30 June), had gone some way to addressing historical abuse in the military but the short time frame meant scores of personnel had been effectively locked out of the scheme.
“Slater and Gordon has helped almost 250 victims of abuse access the scheme since we first started calling for its establishment some years ago,” Mr Briggs said.
“But we’ve also had scores more who have come forward but who were unaware they would qualify for it. Those enquiries continue to this day,” Mr Briggs said.
“They either didn’t know the scheme existed, were uninformed about the criteria, or they missed the 31 May 2013 cut-off date to apply.
“We believe there needs to be some form of ongoing reparation for historical abuse.
“For many personnel who were victims of abuse, the establishment of the taskforce provided the impetus for people to come forward for the first time.
“They had been struggling with what happened to them, privately, often for many years.
“The Taskforce afforded victims the opportunity to not only have their abuse acknowledged but also to access a reparation payment, counselling and restorative engagement to help them deal with the very serious trauma they have suffered over many years.
“While the counseling and restorative engagement will continue, the winding up of the reparation scheme means hundreds of veterans will not be able to access further support.
“There has to be some means of acknowledging their years of struggle to ensure they get the support they need,” Mr Briggs said.