Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to tackle the increase in sexual offences in the armed forces.

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence and our Armed Forces are absolutely clear there is no place for sexual offending. We expect the highest standards of behaviour from our Service personnel. Inappropriate behaviour is downright unacceptable and it stands in stark contrast with everything the Armed Forces represent. Anyone found to have committed a sexual offence will be dealt with appropriately and will face the full force of the law.

The Armed Forces are committed to addressing the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault through a range of actions, including awareness campaigns and training presentations around sexual consent.

To make sure that all inappropriate behaviour, including sexual assault, is tackled across the Services a report has been launched which will be led by Air Marshal Michael Wigston. The objectives of the Report are threefold: to understand the current evidence regarding inappropriate behaviour across the services; to make recommendations on what can be done to ensure and reassure, the Armed Forces are an inclusive and modern employer; and, to identify areas for further action, including potential improvements to controls, processes or policy.

We recognise the great courage it takes to come forward and report a sexual offence. Personnel who come forward can have full confidence that all allegations are thoroughly investigated; Commanding Officers must always refer any allegation of rape and sexual assault, or any other offence which may have a sexual element, to the Service Police.

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