Institutional Abuse in the Australian Defence Force

A/Prof. Ben Wadham1, A/Prof JamesĀ  Connor1

1Flinders University, ADELAIDE, AUST

In 2011 the Australian Defence Force (ADF) came under sustained state and civil society scrutiny over a wave of abuse claims within the institution. The claims were historical dating back to the 1950s and instigated a review into institutional abuse in the ADF, leading to the establishment of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce. There were significant calls by the public, politicians and elements of the veteran sector for a Royal Commission. In 2021 the Defence Ombudsman handles complaints and inquiries. This presentation describes the initial observations of an ARC Discovery study. We describe the contexts, types, processes and incidence of defence abuse from 68 interviews with victims/survivors.


Ben is the Director of the Open Door: Veteran Transition, Integration, Wellbeing research initiative in the College of Education, Psychology, and Social Work. Open Door is an Australasian research hub that brings together veterans, scholars, and practitioners together around key research, service provision, and policy/legislation initiatives. Open Door is connected to other veteran research hubs across the five-eyes nations. Ben is the co-Deputy Director of Orama Research Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing. Ben’s research is focused on the health and wellbeing of serving personnel and Veterans.


Dec 10 2021