Royal Commission enquiry into the Australian Defence Force

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse examined the shocking failure of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to protect children and young people in its care from sexual abuse around Australia. Many other cases were not examined.

Turner Freeman Lawyers has successfully acted in claims involving sexual abuse in cadets and in other ADF settings.

In December 2017, the Australian Government announced the re-introduction of the Defence Reparation Scheme for survivors of abuse in ADF settings. To be eligible for a reparation payment, you need to be able to establish the following:

  1. The abuse is reasonably likely to have occurred;
  2. The abuse occurred on or before 30 June 2014; and
  3. The complaint relates to the most serious forms of abuse or sexual assault.

The maximum payment under the Scheme is $50,000, which would consist of an amount of $45,000 for the most serious forms of abuse and an additional payment of $5,000, if the Ombudsmen is satisfied that the ADF mismanaged the incident of abuse.

It is important to note that a reparation payment is not compensation for the abuse suffered. If you were a member of the Army, Airforce or Navy while you were under the age of 18, and you suffered physical or sexual abuse whilst serving, then you may be entitled to make a civil claim for compensation.

If you were physically or sexually abused and you were over the age of 18 then you may be entitled to compensation, but there are strict statutory time limits which apply in which to bring a claim.

Unlike the repatriation payment which is offered by the Australian Government and capped at $50,000, compensation aims to provide a monetary payment in recognition of the physical, psychological and financial damage that you have suffered as a result of the physical or sexual abuse. This means that you may be entitled to a compensation payment which is substantially higher and takes into account your pain and suffering, medical expenses, economic loss and other out-of-pocket expenses.

If you have already received a ADF repatriation payment, then you may still be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

We can help

Turner Freeman Lawyers has experienced lawyers who have a track record of proven success in Institutional Abuse claims. If you, or someone you know, has been physically or sexually abused whilst serving in the ADF please contact Turner Freeman Lawyers on (02) 8222 3333 to speak with one of our experienced lawyers.

If you, or someone you know, needs support or someone to talk to then Lifeline Australia provides a 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services and can be contacted on 13 11 44.