Australia apologizes for abuse in military
SYDNEY - Agence France-PresseAustralia’s government and defense force commander apologized to hundreds of victims of abuse within the military yesterday, clearing the way for victims to receive compensation.
In an address to Parliament, Defense Minister Stephen Smith acknowledged that soldiers, sailors and member of the air force had suffered abuse, often by superiors under the excuse of toughening up younger recruits, since the early 1950s.
An independent report into abuse within the military earlier this year found 775 plausible allegations of sexual, physical and mental abuse within the armed forces since 1951. “To those men and women in the Australian Defense Force (ADF) or the Department of Defense who have suffered sexual or other forms of abuse, on behalf of the government, I say sorry,” Smith told Parliament.
The issue flared in 2011 when a female defense academy cadet was unknowingly filmed having consensual sex with a male colleague, with the incident broadcast over the internet to other cadets without her knowledge. Australia’s military commander, Gen. David Hurley acknowledged the suffering of those who were affected. “On behalf of the ADF (Australian Defense Force), I say that I am sorry to those who have suffered abuse while serving in the ADF,” he said.