Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 19th May 2022.

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Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what processes are in place to gather forensic evidence from survivors of military sexual assault or rape where the incident takes place while overseas.

Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

Processes can vary considerably, dependent on where the offence takes place. In places where Defence has a well-established presence and appropriate forensic examination facilities exist, standing arrangements will be in place to utilise such facilities, as this allows the best evidence to be obtained. In places where Defence does not have a well-established presence, or where there are no appropriate forensic facilities available, the Service Police Officer in command will need to decide whether an in-theatre examination should be conducted by a UK Medical Officer (MO) who is not qualified in forensic medical examination. If so, the MO will conduct the primary recovery of forensic evidence with the victim’s consent. The MO would be guided by a specially trained Service Police person in this process. The victim would then, with their consent, be recovered back to the UK to attend a Sexual Assault Referral Centre where additional evidence may be gathered and support offered.

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