ADFA rapists could be managers: report

FORMER officer cadets who allegedly raped 24 female cadets at the Australian Defence Force Academy in the 1990s could still be working in senior management roles in Defence, a major investigation into abuse in the force revealed on Tuesday.

Law firm DLA Piper spent 12 months investigating allegations of harassment, physical and sexual abuse from 775 people against current and former Defence staff.

A report detailing the alleged abuses and recommending various responses from the Federal Government was given to Defence Minister Stephen Smith in April.

On Tuesday, Mr Smith publicly released a redacted version of the firm's interim report, including 24 specific allegations of rape from former defence cadets during the 19902 never making it to trial.

On top of hundreds of shocking allegations, the DLA Piper review uncovered systemic problems within defence, ranging from unreported crimes to a lack of regard for the victims of sexual and physical abuse since the 1960s.

Findings in the report released on Tuesday showed it was likely a substantial number of victims of sexual assault never reported the assault and it was likely many perpetrators were never identified, or if they were identified, had "no significant action taken against them".

"It is possible that male cadets who raped female cadets at (the) Australian Defence Force Academy in the late 1990s and other cadets who witnessed such rape and did not intervene may now be in middle to senior management positions in the ADF," the report said.

"Those possibilities carry serious risks for the ADF."

While the review has no power to instigate any further action on behalf of government, it did recommend the government consider a Royal Commission to determine if those who alleged committed or witnessed and did not intervene in the 24 sexual assaults were still part of the ADF, and how to deal with the situation.

The report said among the groups at biggest risk of abuse in the ADF, were females, young men and boys, and homosexuals, with only one instance alleged where other Defence staff of the same or lower rank abused a member of a higher rank.

While Mr Smith said he could not put a firm date on when the government would officially respond to the review, he said it would be in the near future.