Leading military compensation law firm Slater and Gordon, has welcomed the release of extracts and findings from Volume 1 of the DLA Piper Report into sexual and other abuse claims in the Australian Defence Force, and again called for the establishment of an ex-gratia scheme to compensate historical abuse cases.
Military compensation practice group leader, Brian Briggs, said he was pleased the report recognised the possibility of past abuse claims being compensated, which is what the law firm had called for previously on behalf of abused former ADF members.
Under the existing military compensation schemes in Australia, members of the ADF who served prior to 1989 are not eligible for compensation for pain and suffering, creating a disparity of access to justice.
“Given the claims of abuse submitted to this report span 60 years, it is clear that the government should set up an adequate compensation scheme for historical abuse cases immediately to give peace of mind to those that have suffered for so long,” Mr Briggs said.
Mr Briggs also said there were major concerns with some of the recommendations of the report, including abused members meeting with their perpetrator.
“I seriously doubt that any of my clients who have been abused in the defence force would want to meet their perpetrator, it may only cause a deterioration of any psychological issues they may have.
Mr Briggs said the next step in this process should be an immediate apology to all abuse victims from the government and he urged the Defence Minister to make the findings of Volume 2 of the report public as soon as possible.
“It is of upmost importance that Volume 2 is released without delay, this will be the detail that matters,” he said.