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Australia to apologise for sex abuse in military

Published on Nov 26, 2012 9:53 AM
A file photo taken on Nov 14, 2012 shows Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith speaking in Perth. -- PHOTO : AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - The Australian government said on Monday it would make a parliamentary apology to victims of abuse in the military and set up a compensation fund after allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith will also establish an independent taskforce to individually assess the hundreds of claims of abuse uncovered by a report commissioned by the government last year.

The taskforce will be able to refer appropriate matters to police for formal criminal investigation and assessment for prosecution, while offering help to access counselling, health, and other services.

"I will say sorry to those people who have been subject to inappropriate abuse over their time in the Australian Defence Force," Mr Smith told reporters ahead of the apology to be made in parliament later on Monday.

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