Australian Defense Minister apologizes over sex abuse victims

Australian military offers apology to sex abuse victims

Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:29AM GMT

Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith has offered an apology to victims of sexual abuse in the military, vowing to set up a taskforce to look into claims of abuse and award compensation.

”To those men and women in the Australian Defense Force 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 on Monday.

He acknowledged that some members of the military were abused and suffered ill treatment by their superiors since the early 1950s. “You should never have experienced this abuse.”

Defense force chief General David Hurley also offered apology to all who experienced sexual, physical or mental abuse while serving in the Australian Defense Force.

The Australian defense minister reiterated that an independent taskforce, headed by former West Australian Supreme Court judge Len Roberts-Smith, would look into at least 775 cases of abuse and rule on compensation payments of up to USD 50,000 for the victims.

He noted that the military would cooperate with the government in the inquiry process and warned that those found guilty of abuse will be brought to justice.

The apology came after a sex scandal in the military streamed on the internet in 2011.

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