Australia apologises to victims of sexual abuse in the military
The earliest case relates to the alleged abuse of a 13-year-old navy trainee in 1951
Monday 26 November 2012
Australia's defence minister apologised to military personnel past and present who were sexually abused or otherwise mistreated during their service.
He also started an inquiry into hundreds of allegations of abuse over six decades.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith made the apology in Parliament on behalf of the government in the latest step in a two-year effort to reform the culture of the Australian military and it make more accepting of women.
"Young men and women have suffered treatment which no member of our defence force or our community generally should experience," Smith said.
"Young men and women have endured sexual, physical or mental abuse from their colleagues which are not acceptable and do not reflect the values of a modern, diverse, tolerant, Australian society," he added.
He noted claims that officers had abused their positions of trust through their own behaviour or by turning a blind eye to the actions of others.
Smith also announced that retired judge Len Roberts-Smith had been appointed to examine allegations of abuse by more than 1,000 alleged victims across every decade since 1950s.
The earliest case relates to the alleged abuse of a 13-year-old navy trainee in 1951, while the most recent relates to events in 2011.
A preliminary review of these allegations by a law firm found that 750 were "plausible," Smith said.
The three-month inquiry could result in compensation of up to 50,000 Australian dollars ($52,000) for each victim and the alleged perpetrators being referred to criminal authorities for prosecution.
Smith said some of the perpetrators could still be serving in the military.
The government started inquiries last year in response to a young woman's allegation that a fellow cadet had secretly filmed a sexual encounter between the pair and broadcast it to their colleagues at the Australian military officer training academy. The incident and the attention the government focused on it provoked a wave of complaints of sexual misconduct over the decades.
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...