The Defense Abuse Response Workforce (DART) was established on 26 November 2012 to assist complainants who had suffered sexual abuse, physical abuse, sexual harassment and workplace harassment and bullying in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) prior to 11 April 2011. As part of the redress package provided by the Taskforce, complainants had the option of meeting with a current senior officer of the ADF. The most consistent reported motivation for choosing the option of Restorative Engagement was that it provided an opportunity to recount ones experience of abuse to someone who can do something with the lessons of that experience – so that it is then less likely to happen to someone else.
Between late 2013 and early 2016, over 600 Restorative Engagement Conferences were convened with former and current personnel of the Australian Defence Force. These Restorative Engagement Conferences were judged to have been highly successful according to several key criteria, including (i) therapeutic benefit for survivors recounting their experience to a current senior officer, and (ii) educational and motivational impact for those senior officers. As a result, when DART concluded, the Restorative Engagement program was reestablished under the aegis of the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse then proposed a similar a redress package in a National Redress Scheme. Survivors may be eligible for a reparation payment, additional counselling support, and the opportunity to meet with a senior official of the organisation where the abuse occurred. These meetings are known as a Direct Personal Response (DPR). The first DPRs were held in 2019.
As of mid-2020, the DPR program within the National Redress Scheme was being reviewed, to improve aspects of program administration, and to address a widespread lack of understanding about the process, which would be better named Direct Personal Engagement.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s Department of Justice and Community Safety has established a Restorative Engagement and Redress Scheme involving Victoria Police. The Scheme has been operational since July 2020.