In 2012, then defence minister Stephen Smith commissioned the investigation after an earlier inquiry into reports of abuse in the wider defence force showed a large number of cases originated from the former training facility.
According to the inquiry, more than 200 complaints of abuse from junior recruits at the naval training facility were recorded.
The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, which released its report into the abuse on Wednesday, recounted stories from the hundreds of recruits, most aged between 15 and 17, who had suffered abuse.
The report found that the defence force must have known or should have known about the extent of the abuse occurring in the barracks and that the failure of staff to prevent the abuse showed defence mismanagement. It also recommended a reparation payment of up to $50,000 for each recruit.
Defence Force chief David Hurley said he acknowledged the courage and strength it took for former junior recruits to come forward, but that the behaviour they experienced did not reflect the standards of all Australian Defence Force members.
‘The matters reported in the HMAS Leeuwin report are abhorrent, and it goes without saying that abuses, such as those recorded, should not have occurred and have no place in the Australian Defence Force,’ he said.
‘The senior leadership group and I are committed to continue to address inappropriate behaviour and attitudes, and align Defence culture with that expected by our society of a modern military force.