This presentation discusses
1.The Government’s decision to review abuse allegations, and
2.The adequacy of the restorative engagement process for victims / perpetrators
Defence Abuse Response Taskforce
•allegations of sexual and other abuse;
•the adequacy and appropriateness of Defence responses to allegations of abuse; and
•systemic cultural issues within Defence http://www.defenceabusetaskforce.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
On 26th November 2012, Defence Minister Smith and then Attorney General Roxon announced the Defence Abuse Response Task Force Major General Roberts-Smith QC is Chair of the 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. This means that the fundamental work of the Taskforce is to determine, in close consultation with complainants, the most appropriate outcome in individual cases.
Taskforce has received approximately 2,400 complaints of abuse in Defence
•REPARATION PAYMENT TO A MAX OF $50,000
•FORMAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
•RESTORATIVE ENGAGMENT CONFERENCE
The Framework is the model of restorative engagement adapted by the Taskforce to meet the Government’s objectives and the needs of the particular circumstances of complainants to the Taskforce. The Framework is underpinned by the best practice principles and values of restorative practice and mediation.
Why an Administrative process instead of Royal Commission or Judicial Inquiry?
•There is evidence that abuse was or remains systemic and the result of a deep-seated and force wide cultural problem
•truth must be determined to restore institutional and individual reputations
•a Royal Commission or judicial inquiry would prevent politicisation of an issue involving the ADF as a necessarily apolitical national institution
•The DART process is hidden from public scrutiny unlike a Royal Commission or Judicial Inquiry to test allegations in an independent and transparent manner
•The RC into sexual abuse is working, why not a RC or Judicial Inquiry into abuse in the ADF?
Dr Gary Gumble The lawyer who led a high-level review into sexual abuse in the Defence Force has called for a Royal Commission to expose rapists and abusers in the military's senior ranks. http://www.news.com.au/national/dr-gary-rumble-wants-sexual-abuse-in-defences-senior-ranks-exposed/story- fncynjr2-1226754492904
Restorative Engagement Program
The Defence Abuse Restorative Engagement Program offers an avenue for people who have suffered abuse in Defence to have their personal account of abuse heard, responded to and acknowledged by Defence through a process of restorative conferencing
Is The Restorative Program The Most Effective Process for ADF Victims or Politically Driven?
Does restorative justice embedded in the DART Process work?
•Restorative justice is a social practice commonly embedded in the criminal justice system
•intended to heal at both the individual, group and social level
•Focused on victim, perpetrator and organisation
Process that brings together all the parties affected by an incident of wrongdoing to collectively decide how to deal with the aftermath of the incident and its implications for the future
THE DART model is deficient:
•what concrete and measurable effects restorative justice has had on recidivism rates in the ADF
•How the program is measured
•It may be cathartic for the abused, but what about the perpetrator who is absent from the process
•Absence of interaction between victim and perpetrator and facilitated apology
•Apology only comes from a Defence representative
•Process owned and managed by Defence
•DART not chaired by a person independent of Defence
•Restorative process precedes any legal action against a perpetrator
•Apology comes from a senior Defence member appointed by the ADF, not from the perpetrator
•Victim has no certainty of what action is taken against a perpetrator post Restorative process
DART Restorative Process is Not!
•direct communication, confrontation, and reconciliation between ADF victims and offenders
•At best, it is indirect restorative justice, a process that serves political interests, to be seen by the public to be doing something without any certainty that individual complaints will result in affirmative action to hold the Defence organisation and perpetrator/s to account
•Not subjected to judicial process, like a RC