Armed Forces: Bullying

Defence written question – answered on 3rd July 2012.

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) under what circumstances an assisting officer would not be offered to a soldier wishing to make a complaint of bullying and harassment;

(2) what his policy is on when an assisting officer should be offered to a soldier wishing to make a complaint of bullying and harassment.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Any officer or soldier wishing to make a complaint about bullying or harassment is entitled, if they wish, to an assisting officer who will help them to prepare their service complaint. They should be offered this support prior to submitting a service complaint, or as soon as the chain of command becomes aware of their wish to submit a service complaint.

A request by an officer or soldier for the support of an assisting officer should not be refused. However, while an individual should always be advised to have an assisting officer, they do not have to have one and the fact that they declined assistance should be recorded.

If the individual making the complaint requests a specific assisting officer, every effort should be made to assign that individual. However, where this is not possible, for instance where a specific assisting officer is deemed unsuitable owing to their proximity to the case, relationship or other valid factors, an alternative assisting officer should be appointed.

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