Officers who raped cadets may still be in ADF, inquiry hears

THE former head of an abuse probe into the defence force has claimed several generations of military officers may include rapists, at a Senate inquiry.

Lawyer Dr Gary Rumble, who led the DLA Piper, said the force still may contain several mid-career officers who may have raped female cadets earlier in their career.

He alleged the Defence Force had failed to take action over allegations of abuse at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra between 1986 and 1998.

Dr Rumble further claimed many of those who were alleged to have been involved in sexual abuse may yet rise higher in the military if action was not taken.

He also called for a new Royal Commission to investigate the allegations and responses, modelled on the institutional responses to child sexual abuse inquiry.

Despite numerous investigations into abuse claims in the military, the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce was already reviewing calls for a royal commission.

A submission to the inquiry from the Department of Defence said it remained committed to implementing cultural change in the force, and "the next few years will be critical" to ensuring such change was "enduring".