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Leading military compensation lawyer at Slater and Gordon, Brian Briggs, has today welcomed the release of the review into the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and urged the federal government to consider the recommendations as a matter of priority.
Sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick today released part two of her review into the ADF, which included recommendations such as setting up a sexual misconduct unit within the service, and allowing complainants the option of reporting instances confidentially.
Mr Briggs said that based on his experience, many women, including senior officers, had quit the ADF because of the way they were treated.
“I’ve had dozens of female defence clients who left the forces because of instances of sexual harassment, sex discrimination and sexual abuse,” Mr Briggs said.
“This is a great loss to our country as time and recourses were committed to training them. We should value the commitment they made to this country by enlisting in the forces.
“No person, man or woman, in any workplace, should tolerate any level of discrimination and abuse.”
Mr Briggs agrees with Ms Broderick’s concern that many of these instances are under-reported or unaccounted for and has urged anyone who has experienced any form of assault or misconduct to report the incident straight away.
“I know many of these instances go unaccounted for, but the perpetrators need to be held responsible for their actions and investigated by the ADF.
“I also welcome the commissioner’s crucial recommendation that complainants should feel that they can report these instances in a confidential manner, eliminating any concern they may have in relation to the perceived repercussions by reporting it in the first place,” he said.
Mr Briggs is an advocate for all military personnel who are victims of sexual or other abuse. He has been campaigning for the government to set up an ex-gratia scheme to compensate victims of past abuse.