Suicide: Armed Forces

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Conservative, New Forest East

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will take steps to instruct the Coroner's Service to ascertain and record, in all cases of suicide, whether the deceased was a (a) present or (b) former member of the (i) Regular Armed Forces or (ii) Reserves.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Every suicide is a tragedy and we take the welfare of our service men and women, whether veterans or current members of the Armed Forces or Reserves, very seriously.

The Government recognises that personal information about victims of suicide can be used to improve understanding of “at risk” groups and, from that, to support better targeted interventions. But for data on suicides amongst veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces or Reserves to be of value, the information collected must be reliable, consistent and comprehensive. For a number of practical and administrative reasons, including the parameters of the coroner’s role, this isn’t possible in the context of coroner suicide conclusions and there are no plans, therefore, to require coroners to record whether the deceased had served in the Armed Forces or Reserves.

The Chief Coroner has given coroners clearer guidance so that deaths, including suicide, are recorded more consistently.

Does this answer the above question?

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No1 person thinks not

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