The Minister for Defence Stephen Smith today provided an update on progress of the Review into allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse in Defence by the law firm DLA Piper.
Since the ‘ADFA Skype incident’ was drawn to public attention in April 2011, a large number of public or private allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse in the ADF and Defence have been drawn to attention.
These allegations are being dealt with methodically and at arm’s length from Defence by DLA Piper.
Earlier this week I met with the DLA Piper Review Team to discuss progress of the Review.
The DLA Piper Review Team is currently focussed on assessing the allegations and preparing its Report to the Minister for Defence.
The Review has received over 1,000 allegations – some from people who contacted the Review directly, some referred to the Review from the Minister's Office or the Defence Department. The Review also has before it allegations reported in the media.
These allegations are all of concern and are being dealt with methodically.
The DLA Piper Review Team has advised that while a great amount of work has been done, due to the volume of allegations, the Review Team requires more time to collect and test relevant information in relation to the allegations it is considering.
While the role of the DLA Piper Review Team is not to fully investigate allegations, it must report, based on the information provided to it, an evidence-based and reasoned initial assessment of each allegation.
The Review must also report those allegations which, based on the information available, require further attention, and make appropriate recommendations on the way forward.
It is important that the Review Team has adequate time to carefully assess and complete a methodical, reasoned and evidence-based initial assessment of each allegation.
I have therefore extended the Review’s reporting deadline by one month to 30 September 2011.
The terms of reference for the Review are attached and can be found on the DLA Piper website:
DLA Piper Terms of Reference