Armed Forces: Pastoral Care

Ministry of Defence written question – answered at on 14 October 2020.

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Photo of Virginia Crosbie Virginia Crosbie Conservative, Ynys Môn

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has plans to offer non-religious pastoral care to members of the Armed Forces.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes all aspects of the health and wellbeing of its personnel very seriously; we are working to create and sustain an environment where people feel able to be authentic in the workplace; where people feel respected and able to achieve their full potential.

All military Chaplains have long provided pastoral care to those of all faiths and none. Assurance work in this area consistently indicates that Service personnel have a high degree of satisfaction with this pastoral care – which is always non-invasive, professionally qualified and non-partisan. In addition, all Service personnel can access pastoral care from a variety of sources, including from within their Chain of Command, through the Services’ professional social workers, medical staff, welfare staff and via the various staff networks.

In Defence we encourage and support a number of faith and belief staff networks to support and connect people with each other and help to create a better working environment for our staff. They also play an important role connecting Defence to local faith and belief communities, who often have a strong interest in our work. The Defence Humanist Network (DHN) is a thriving community, led by a strong champion, promoting Humanism consistently within Defence.

The DHN is committed to giving personnel with humanist beliefs the option to talk to someone with a similar view on life, should they need pastoral support. The DHN, working together with the MOD’s Diversity and Inclusion team, have an active ongoing project which seeks to address the delivery of pastoral care to Defence personnel.

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