The Commonwealth of Australia are responding to many allegations of historic sexual abuse perpetrated within the Australian Defence Force.

Unfortunately, some men and woman, who enrolled in the Australian Defence Force, were sent to the following facilities as junior recruits:

  • HMAS Leeuwin
  • The Army Apprentice School, Balcombe
  • Australian Defence Force Cadets

At these institutions, many individuals have now alleged they were subjected to repetitive acts of bullying and sexual assault and have suffered significant psychological injuries as a result.


HMAS Leeuwin

HMAS Leeuwin was a training facility for junior naval recruits between 1960 and 1980. It has now been accepted that this facility was home to child sexual abuse for many. Case Study 40 from the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual abuse (“the Commission”) noted, “We accept that ‘bastardisation practices, including blackballing, or nuggeting existed at Leeuwin.”

The most shocking of it all, is that in 1971, his Honour Trevor Rapke published a report that was sent to senior management at HMAS Leeuwin that noted the facility had been, ‘The scene for unorganised and repetitive acts of bullying, violence, degradation and petty crime during most of the years of its existence.” He further noted that extreme and repetitive acts of bullying and physical violence had caused ‘deplorable’ physical and mental damage on junior recruits.

The Commission noted the impacts of the abuse have been long lasting and severe. The impacts include physical injury, mental illness, suicide attempts, alcohol abuse and broken relationships.


The Army Apprentice School

The Army Apprentice School was another training facility for junior recruits which existed between 1970 and 1980.

Allegations of a systemic culture of abuse at this facility has since come to light. Witnesses have come forward detailing their accounts of watching other recruits being forced to ‘run the gauntlet’ or attend ‘kangaroo courts.’


Seeking Help

It is now known that being subjected to a systemic culture of abuse and having acts of sexual abuse and grave physical abuse perpetrated against an individual causes a psychological injury.

You are able to seek redress for these grave injustices, which include recognition through compensation for the pain and suffering. At Chamberlains, we bring civil claims against the institutions to seek compensation on behalf of our clients.

If you or someone you know have been affected, or have witnessed sexual and/or physical abuse at one of the above institutions we urge you to reach out.