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A new report into abuse at HMAS Leeuwin provides graphic evidence of institutionalised, systemic and widespread abuse over a 22 year period, according to leading Slater & Gordon Military Compensation lawyer Brian Briggs.
Mr Briggs said the report throws doubt over previous findings that bullying and violence was not institutionalised, systemic or even widespread at the junior recruit training establishment operated by the Royal Australian Navy in Fremantle WA from the 1960s to the early 1980s.
“The Taskforce is to be commended for producing an extremely thorough and extremely comprehensive report,” Mr Briggs said.
“It has not held back on its criticism of the extent to which the abuse was sanctioned, nor to the extent that it was covered up.
“This report is a major step forward in recognising just how ingrained abuse was in the culture at HMAS Leeuwin, and I hope that recognition can provide some comfort to those who suffered during their time at the establishment.”
Mr Briggs said the report was confronting reading.
“Graphic case studies contained in the report reflect the horrific abuse of junior recruits at HMAS Leeuwin over more than two decades.
“The details make for harrowing reading and everyone who came forward and told their story to the Taskforce should be commended.”
Mr Briggs said around 40 of his clients provided personal accounts of their experiences to the Taskforce, along with approximately160 others.
“I know that reliving this trauma has been extremely difficult for some and they have shown enormous courage.
“What happened at HMAS Leeuwin was horrendous and this ‘warts and all’ report will go a long way to ensuring it never happens again,” he said.