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Pathway to Change

Defence Abuse Response Taskforce

The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce was established as part of the Government's response to the DLA Piper Review into allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse in Defence. The Taskforce was established to assess and respond to individual cases of abuse in Defence occurring, before 11 April 2011 and registered with the Taskforce by 31 May 2013. This means that the fundamental work of the Taskforce is to determine, in close consultation with complainants, the most appropriate outcome in individual cases. More information on the Taskforce is available at: www.defenceabusetaskforce.gov.au

On 26 November 2012, Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley delivered an apology to members of the Australian Defence Force and Defence employees who have suffered sexual or other forms of abuse in the course of their employment.

The apology can be viewed on Defence’s multimedia webpage. Click on the link below and then select the video titled: ‘CDF statement in relation to allegations of abuse’.

Link to CDF apology: http://video.defence.gov.au/#searchterm,0,david hurley,All

The cut-off date for the Taskforce accepting new allegations about abuse in Defence has now passed.

For those who have raised an allegation before 31 May 2013, and wish to enquire about its status, please contact the Government’s free telephone hotline on: Tel. 1800 424 991.

For those who missed the cut-off date or who wish to make a complaint about sexual and other abuse in Defence occurring after 11 April 2011 can make use of existing mechanisms, outlined below.

How to register an allegation of abuse within Defence:

1. Sexual offences

Any member of Defence who has been sexually assaulted can, at any time, contact their local State/Territory police or ring 000 in an emergency.

Current ADF personnel and current Defence APS employees:

ADF personnel and Defence APS employees that are victims of sexual misconduct are strongly encouraged to disclose/report an incident to:

  1. SeMPRO;
  2. their commander or manager;
  3. the local State/Territory police service;
  4. Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) or local Service Police Office;
  5. external authorities.
SeMPRO

The Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO) provides support, advice and guidance to Defence personnel who have been affected by an incident of sexual misconduct. SeMPRO operates in a trauma informed manner to deliver best practice support to those affected by sexual misconduct, as well as those who are supporting them. SeMPRO is focused on coordinating services for ADF members who have been affected by sexual misconduct. APS employees in Defence who wish to access SeMPRO services may do so.

SeMPRO is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by emailing sempro@defence.gov.au or by calling 1800 736 776. More information is available on the SeMPRO page of Department of Defence website: http://www.defence.gov.au/sempro/

Commander or manager

ADF personnel and Defence APS employees affected by an incident of sexual misconduct should report the matter to their commander or manager. If that is not possible or appropriate, for example, when there is a perceived conflict the matter should be reported to the next higher level in the chain of command or reporting line.

Local State/Territory police service

Any member of Defence who has been sexually assaulted can, at any time, contact their local State/Territory police service or ring 000 in an emergency.

ADFIS

ADF personnel and Defence APS employees who wish to raise an allegation of sexual abuse in Defence should contact the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS). ADFIS will coordinate and determine the appropriate jurisdiction for the handling of reported incidents of alleged sexual misconduct involving ADF personnel which occur in the Defence workplace, or which may have a connection with the Defence workplace.
ADFIS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1300 233 471 or via email: adfis.ops@defence.gov.au

External authorities

Allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence may be raised through external authorities such as the Inspector General ADF, the Defence Force Ombudsman and/or the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

Inspector General ADF:
Phone 1800 688 042 or email: ig.adf@defence.gov.au. For further information visit: http://www.defence.gov.au/oscdf/afc/fcib.htm

Defence Force Ombudsman:
Phone 1300 362 072 or visit: http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/pages/making-a-complaint/

Australian Human Rights Commission:
Phone 1300 656 419 or visit: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints-information

More information about the external organisations that can provide assistance is available on the Military Justice page of Department of Defence website: http://www.defence.gov.au/mjs/organisations.htm#a

Former ADF personnel and former Defence APS employees:

Former ADF personnel and Defence APS employees who wish to raise an allegation of sexual abuse in Defence are encouraged to disclose/report an incident to:

  1. ADFIS (details listed above);
  2. local State/Territory police service;
  3. external authorities (details listed above).

2. Unacceptable behaviour cases

Unacceptable behaviour in the workplace is not condoned, and neither is the mismanagement or disregard of complaints. Defence is committed to ensuring that incidents of unacceptable behaviour are dealt with appropriately.

Current ADF personnel and current Defence APS employees:

For current ADF personnel and Defence APS employees, the matter should be reported to their commander or manager. If that is not possible or appropriate in the circumstances, for example, when there is a perceived conflict, the complaint is to be made to the next higher level in the chain of command or reporting line.
A complaint must include the following:

  1. clearly state it is an unacceptable behaviour complaint and, if in writing, contain a marking of ‘PROTECTED-Sensitive:Personal’.
  2. provide a brief, clear description of the incident(s), including the details of what happened, when it happened, where it happened and who was involved in the incident, including witnesses;
  3. identify any steps taken by the complainant to seek resolution, and the outcome of such steps; and
  4. identify the complainant’s desired outcome.
Former ADF personnel and former Defence APS employees:

For former ADF personnel or Defence APS employees, allegations of bullying and harassment may be raised with Complaint Resolution on (02) 6127 2971 or email: complaint.resolution@defence.gov.au. For further information visit: http://www.defence.gov.au/fr/CR/crhome.htm