The announcement today of an Australian Defence Force investigation into the distribution of inappropriate material allegedly denigrating female colleagues is a stark reminder of how far the ADF still needs to go, a leading military compensation lawyer has warned.
Brian Briggs, who heads Slater and Gordon’s military compensation group, said that the latest incident highlights the systemic culture of abuse that has existed in the military for years.
“Unfortunately this is all too familiar to me,” Mr Briggs said.
“I’ve spoken to dozens of female defence clients who left the forces because of instances of sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse, even as recently as this month.
“This is a great loss to our country and we should value the commitment they made by enlisting in the forces.
“While I commend Lieutenant General David Morrison for the stance he took today, it is clear there is still a systemic culture of abuse in the ADF and it needs to be stamped out.
“I’m also concerned that this incident allegedly involves high-ranking officers.
“No person, woman or man, should tolerate any form of abuse, nor should it be tolerated.
“This is important for not only our defence force, but for the wider community.”
Mr Briggs said that it is important for members of the ADF to feel protected by their employer, superiors and their colleagues.
“My thoughts are with the women affected and I hope they have sought, and are being provided with any support they need.”
Brian Briggs is an expert in military compensation matters and an advocate for all military personnel who are victims of sexual or other abuse.