On 11 April 2011, the Minister for Defence Stephen Smith announced that an external law firm would be engaged by the Secretary of Defence to review allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse that have been drawn to the attention of the Minister’s office, as well as to the Department of Defence and the media.
The allegations followed an incident at the Australian Defence Force Academy. In response to these allegations, the law firm DLA Piper was engaged by the then Secretary of the Department of Defence to review each allegation methodically and at arm’s length from Defence to determine the most appropriate way for these complaints to be addressed.
On 7 March 2012 redacted extracts from the Executive Summary and Key Findings of Volume 1 of the review were released by the Minister.
The Review has had before it specific allegations within scope from 847 different people (sources). Many of these sources have more than one allegation within scope.
We have allegations across every decade from the 1950s to date. The earliest date of alleged abuse is 1951 (on a 13 year old boy, now a man in his 70s). We have allegations of events during 2011.
The allegations which have been raised with the Review are incredibly diverse. They are made by men and women in respect of conduct by men, women and groups. They involve minors and adults. They span 60 years. They come from diverse geographical locations. They come from different parts of the Defence organisation. They relate to the full range of possible involvement in the ADF—training, normal duties, deployment, hospitalisation and so on. The incidents range from extremely serious to (relatively) minor. The behaviour complained of ranges from that which has never been acceptable nor tolerated, to that which, whilst not acceptable, has in the past been tacitly tolerated.
It is not possible to summarise the nature of the allegations as a group. Each allegation has been considered in accordance with its circumstances.