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INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE AND ORGANISATIONAL REFORM IN THE ADF

This project will help our understanding of the institutional abuse of young people and adults in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). We have two main sources of information: 1) interviews with survivors (former members) and former ADF leaders and; 2) an historical analysis of institutional cultures and governance across four decades supported by archival, documentary and media material. We want to understand survivor accounts in light of institutional and wider societal forces at the time.

There is significant national and international attention on abuse within institutions. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse has exposed the extent of child abuse in some Australian institutions. In 2011 (after a national sex scandal), the ADF commissioned legal firm DLA Piper to review allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence. In 2016, Elizabeth Broderick, the former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, tabled a review for the Australian Federal Police (AFP), finding cultures of bullying, harassment and sexism. The South Australian Police (SAPOL) were reviewed by the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner with similar findings only months later. The historical character of these cases demonstrates the persistence of this feature of institutional life. This serious focus on institutional abuse highlights the national significance of our research.


Our key aims are to:

1. develop a rich understanding of military abuse from the perspective of survivors;


2. situate survivor experience in the context of historical evidence to understand the way the ADF attempted to govern manage and seriously reform; and


3. theorise how and why institutional violence occurs.


We are seeking interview participants who are no longer serving in the ADF. The interviews are confidential. No participant will be identified. All care will be taken to communicate with participants regarding their material.

Contact Ben Wadham 0447947880

WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?

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Volunteer Group

INITIATION RITUALS AND DEFENCE ABUSE

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PUBLISHED ARTICLES

WADHAM, B.A. (2016). THE MINISTER, THE COMMANDANT AND THE CADETS: SCANDAL AND THE MEDIATION OF AUSTRALIAN CIVIL–MILITARY RELATIONS. JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, 52(3) PP. 551-568.

WADHAM, B. (2016). THE DARK SIDE OF DEFENCE: MASCULINITIES AND VIOLENCE IN THE MILITARY. LONDON: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN UK.

BEN WADHAM & JAMES CONNOR (2015) “THE DARK SIDE OF DEFENCE: ORGANISATIONAL DEVIANCE AND THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE, TASA CONFERENCE

WADHAM, BEN (2015) CULTURAL CAMOUFLAGE: TROUBLE IN THE RANKS, TASA CONFERENCE

 NEWS AND BLOGS

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ADFA SKYPE SCANDAL

ROYAL COMMISSION COULD SHINE AN INDEPENDENT LIGHT ON DEFENCE ABUSE

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THE ADF AND JULIAN KNIGHT: A LESSON ON DEFENCE’S CULTURE REFORM

WITH NAVY’S RECORD OF ABUSE, ASYLUM BOAT CLAIMS CAN’T BE IGNORED

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OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS: DIGNIFIED SILENCE OR DIMINISHING DEMOCRACY?

TIDAL WAVE OR TRICKLE: TREATING RETURNING VETERANS TRAUMA

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TINKERING WITH TRIBALISM: WOMEN AND CULTURAL CHANGE IN THE ADF

DEFENCE FORCE SEX SCANDALS: CAN THE CULTURE BE CHANGED?

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FRIEND OR FOE: GREEN ON BLUE KILLINGS IN AFGHANISTAN

PAYING THE PIPER: THE ADF MUST FINALLY FACE ITS CULTURE OF ABUSE

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RECONCILIATION OR ROYAL COMMISSION? ADF ABUSE AND THE PUBLIC RECORD

ADFA SKYPE SCANDAL: SMITH'S REVIEWS COULD HELP DEFENCE TO CHANGE ITS CULTURE

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YUMI AND BEN: THE MILITARISATION OF AUSTRALIA AND THE DEMOCRATISATION OF HATE

US MARINES URINATION VIDEO AN ARTEFACT OF WAR, SAYS EXPERT

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WOMEN IN COMBAT: THE BATTLE IS OVER BUT THE WAR AGAINST PREJUDICE GRINDS ON

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What will I be asked to do?

You are invited to a one-on-one interview with a researcher who will ask you questions about your experiences with violence in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The interview will take between 1 - 3 hours.

The interview will be recorded using a digital voice recorder. Once recorded, the interview will be transcribed (typed-up) and stored as a computer file and then destroyed once the results have been finalised. This is voluntary. What benefit will I gain from being involved in this study?

Whilst we recognise that being interviewed about experiences of abuse and trauma may be distressing there are many potential benefits for you to gain from this study. Expressing your voice can have many therapeutic benefits, giving you the opportunity to hear your story told.

As a participant in this research you will also have the opportunity to take part in a much-needed process to reduce and eliminate violence and abuse within the military. Telling your story will make you part of the process of reform, helping ensure your experiences are not felt by those who follow you.

Will I be identifiable by being involved in this study?


This is entirely up to you.


If you wish to remain anonymous we will ensure that occurs. Once the interview has been typed-up and saved as a file, your voice file will be destroyed. Any identifying information will be removed and the typed-up file stored on a password protected computer that only the coordinators (Dr Ben Wadham and Dr James Connor) will have access to. Your comments will not be linked directly to you.

However, you can also be named and have your comments linked to you if you wish. If you agree to be named in documents all materials will be sent to you prior to publishing for your comment. If you agree, we would like to have the option to make the transcript available to other researchers and/or advocacy organisations who are not members of this research team, but who are judged by the research team to be doing related work. This will only be a de-identified version.

Are there any risks or discomforts if I am involved?

There are some risks associated with your involvement.

These interviews will cover sensitive and difficult topics and may cause your stress or secondary trauma. We will work to mitigate this risk by checking in regularly through the interview on your well-being. You will also have the opportunity to stop or pause in the interviews as needed. You will not be required to answer any question you are not comfortable answering.

If you agree to be named within the publications, the publication of your details may bring attention and additional stress. We will explain and discuss all of these possibilities with you prior to publication of any materials to ensure you are comfortable and prepared with any impact their publication has.

If you decide to remain anonymous there is still the slight chance that other group members may be able to identify your contributions even though they will not be directly attributed to you. The investigators will do all we can to ensure this does not occur.

The investigators are working with ADFAbuse who will continue to provide emotional support during this process. ADFAbuse will be available to provide support if these interviews bring up any emotional trauma, and will help guide you through the process of the publication of any other material.

How do I agree to participate?

Participation is voluntary. You may answer ‘no comment’ or refuse to answer any questions and you are free to withdraw from the information at any time without effect or consequences. A consent form accompanies this information sheet. If you agree to participate please read and sign the form and send it back to me at ben.wadham@flinders.edu.au.


This research project has been approved by the Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee (Project number 7372). For more information regarding ethical approval of the project the Executive Officer of the Committee can be contacted by telephone on 8201 3116, by fax on 8201 2035 or by email human.researchethics@flinders.edu.au