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Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 157205, tabled on 23 February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the data recorded in the Joint Personnel Administration system, how many complaints have been made by female armed forces recruits under the age of 18 of (a) sexually inappropriate behaviour and (b) sexual assault since 2015.

Answered on

1 March 2021

The Ministry of Defence has made it absolutely clear there is no place for unacceptable behaviour in the Armed Forces. We recognise the great courage it takes to come forward and report a sexual offence and 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. All allegations are thoroughly investigated, and support provided to victims. Anyone found to fall short of the Services' high standards or to have committed an offence is dealt with appropriately, which may include imprisonment and dismissal from service.

Individual complaints about 'sexually inappropriate behaviour' would mostly commonly be recorded as sexual harassment on the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system. I can confirm that in the period since 1 January 2015, a search of information held on JPA shows that there have been no informal or formal Service Complaints alleging harassment, including sexual harassment, from female Service personnel aged under 18.

Information relating to the criminal offence of sexual assault is held on the Service Police's REDCAPS database rather than JPA. However, it will take time to conduct a manual search of the records held on REDCAPS to positively confirm the number of allegations made by female personnel aged under 18. I will write with that information in due course.

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