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June 6, 2013
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Flagging an important gesture
LS Helen Frank
DEFENCE flew the flag for National
Reconciliation Week (NRW) from
May 27 to June 3.
Between the Australian flag
and the ADF ensign, the colours
of the Aboriginal and the Torres
Strait Islander flags could be seen
from the masts in Field Marshal
Sir Thomas Blamey Square in
n, started in 2011
by CDF GEN David
Hurley, pays trib-
ute to the impor-
tant role indigenous people play in
Defence kicked off NRW in
Canberra with an inaugural key-
note address at Russell Offices on
May 27, delivered by cadet OCDT
Thomas Boase, a Wakka Wakka
man from Brisbane in his third
year of study at the Australian
Defence Force Academy (ADFA).
During the address, titled
Let's Talk Recognition, OCDT
Boase spoke about what recogni-
tion meant to him.
"So, exactly what do we mean
by recognition?" he asked.
"Tasmanian Aboriginal singer-
songwriter Dewayne Everettsmith
expressed it this way recently:
'Recognition is acknowledgement.
Acknowledgement is respect.
Respect gives you a sense of
belonging and security'."
Defence celebrated NRW by
holding commemorative ser-
vices, presentations and work-
shops nationally on the theme
"Reconciliation -- what else can
The initiative was designed
to introduce further thinking on
civilian and military indigenous
THE ADF Theatre Project has begun its
recruitment process and opportunities to
participate still exist for serving members
who have been wounded or injured or
have become ill in service.
The project is a collaboration between
Defence and Sydney Theatre Company,
providing an opportunity for servicemen
and women, with various wounds and
injuries, ranging from post-traumatic
stress disorder to physical incapacities,
to participate in a unique performing arts
program to support their rehabilitation.
Participants will perform a role in
a stage play inspired by their personal
experiences, as well as reflecting on the
past decade of ADF operations.
In the first step of the recruitment
process, 13 applicants recently came to
Canberra to attend a two-day selection
The applicants shared their personal
stories and gained a greater understand-
ing of what the project might mean to
their rehabilitation and recovery. While
many were apprehensive about the
thought of performing on stage to a large
audience, they quickly learned that for
this stage show, previous acting experi-
ence was not necessary.
ADF Theatre Project coordinator
BRIG Alison Creagh said the project
would provide participants with many
positive experiences and the opportunity
to make a difference in their own lives as
well as their families, colleagues and the
"We know that theatre can make a
meaningful difference in the rehabili-
tation journey for individuals and we
expect participants in the ADF Theatre
Project will experience benefits such as
improved confidence and self-esteem as
they share their experiences and gain new
skills," BRIG Creagh said.
"Participants will gain a great sense
of achievement from what will be a pow-
erful theatrical production.
"The project is also a unique oppor-
tunity for the Australian public to under-
stand Australia's recent story of war and
the challenges faced by the brave men
and women of our Defence Force."
The ADF Theatre Project will open in
Sydney in February 2014, before touring
to various locations around Australia.
Participants will be provided with full
health support to align with their indi-
vidual rehabilitation requirements.
Further information is available at the intranet
ADFTheatreProject/default.aspx, or by contact-
ing WGCDR Russell Upston on (02) 6144 756.
ADF Theatre Project
to help set the
stage for recovery
take part in
for the ADF
part of the
CPL Guy Young
FLGOFF Iain Slater
THE new Sexual Misconduct
Prevention and Response Office
(SeMPRO) is well placed for its offi-
cial launch in July, delegates at the
SeMPRO Conference in Canberra
were told on May 23-24.
SeMPRO has been established as
an access point for those who want
to report sexual misconduct. It will
coordinate timely responses, victim
support, education and policy, and
manage reporting of sexual miscon-
duct in Defence.
AIRCDRE Kathryn Dunn, who
heads up SeMPRO, said her office
would be taking a victim-focused
"How you first respond to a vic-
tim of sexual assault when they dis-
close influences how they recover,"
"The work of SeMPRO is impor-
tant because we know there are
people in our workplaces who are
traumatised by sexual assault. We
encourage them to come forward to
receive the support that they need so
that they can recover and return to
their full potential."
The release of the Review into
the Treatment of Women in the ADF
Report by the Sex Discrimination
Commissioner in August 2012 was a
key driver for change.
"The role of SeMPRO is not
gender specific and support will be
provided to all victims in Defence
-- both men and women, as well
as ADF and APS personnel,"
AIRCDRE Dunn said.
More than 120 specialists from
most Defence establishments
attended the SeMPRO conference in
Canberra, including medical officers,
psychologists, chaplains, legal offic-
ers, and ADF Investigative Service
"The SeMPRO team are working
closely with the specialists to build
a service delivery model because a
more coordinated approach is need-
ed," AIRCDRE Dunn said.
"The conference attendees are the
folk most likely to hear someone's
disclosure of a sexual assault."
In addition to victim care,
SeMPRO also advises on the man-
agement and reporting of sexual
assault and misconduct.
"On the one hand we will be sup-
porting victims of sexual assault;
on the other hand, Defence has a
zero tolerance to offenders who need
to be held to account," AIRCDRE
Data collected by the ADF
Investigative Service over the past
five years shows that, on average,
there have been 80 sexual assaults
reported annually in Defence.
Research shows that 80-90 per cent
of assaults are not reported, which
means there are significantly more
sexual assaults happening each year
"It is important to manage expec-
tations," AIRCDRE Dunn said.
"It's really about making sure
we are looking after our people so
an increase in reporting needs to be
seen as a positive result. We will also
have more accurate prevalence data
and trends so that we can target our
education and prevention strategies."
In the longer term, SeMPRO
believes a strong education and pre-
vention program will make gains in
addressing sexual assault and mis-
conduct. The program, still in its
development stage, aims to increase
awareness and educate people about
healthy relationships, sexual ethics,
consent, and bystander responsibili-
From next month, Defence members will
be able to contact SeMPRO on 1800
SeMPRO (1800 736 776) or through
email at SeMPRO@defence.gov.au for
support, advice and information regard-
ing sexual assault management and
New office to
COMMON CAUSE: Some of the Air Force delegates and speakers at the SeMPRO conference in
Canberra, from left, GPCAPT Al Lyons, GPCAPT Tony Checker, AIRCDRE Henrik Ehlers, AIRCDRE
Kathryn Dunn, WGCDR Rick Dyson and GPCAPT Dee Gibbon.
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