Violence and bullying of a "widespread and serious nature" took place at HMAS Leeuwin naval training base at Fremantle during the 1960s and 70s, a task force investigating allegations of abuse in the Defence Force says.
The task force's first interim report, released by Defence Minister Stephen Smith yesterday, says much of the abuse of cadets went unreported at the time.
The task force was set up in November to examine allegations from people who suffered abuse and bastardisation while serving in the military, with cases going back to the 1950s.
Law firm DLA Piper, which initially got more than 1100 claims from victims as part of a Government-commissioned review, has handed over 524 cases to the task force.
But the task force had received on average 15 new complaints a week from victims over the past three months, forcing the Government to extend its deadline for six months after the task force's head, former WA Supreme Court judge Len Roberts-Smith, said there was no realistic prospect of it finishing its work by the end of November.One of the most notorious sites of abuse is the former training base HMAS Leeuwin, with the task force's interim report saying the substance of individual complaints it received was consistent with material on the public record.
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