New figures released by the Ministry of Defence show a 13% increase in sexual offences across the armed forces. 95 charges were referred to the service prosecutor in 2018.
153 investigations were conducted in 2018, a 35% rise since 2016. 18 of these were for historical offences, suggesting a rise in the number of people feeling able to come forward and report their assailants.
— Henry Jones (@hthjones) March 28, 2019
The figures, which can be found here, reveal 160 personnel are currently being investigated. 150 of those being investigated are men, 2 are women, and 8 are “unidentified” suspects.
“Sexual Harassment is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated”
Lieutenant General Nick Pope
When broken down by service, 93 investigations were carried out by the British Army, 31 by the Royal Air Force, and 22 by the Royal Navy. 7 investigations were were classed as “joint service”.
The most common form of investigation was for sexual assault with no penetration” (71 cases), followed by rape (30 cases).
Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Nick Pope has previously said:”We are absolutely committed to tackling this issue and our new action plan, developed with experts from the public and private sector, includes a range of initiatives to stamp out inappropriate behaviour.
“These include stepping up our education and awareness programmes, reviewing our internal disciplinary procedures and raising awareness amongst personnel of where support is available.
“Anyone failing to meet the clear standards of behaviour I or the Army expects will be dealt with robustly and may face dismissal.”
In October 2018 the military police were accused of being “unfit to run sex assault cases” by an Army corporal who claimed she was assaulted by another soldier.
The article, published by The Times, said the person who took her statement was not trained to handle sexual assault cases and the interview was not filmed, a standard procedure used by civilian police forces.
Liberty, a human rights advocacy group, have threatened to “take…[the Ministry of Defence] to court to force its hand” over the case.
She has already forced @DefenceHQ to scrap a Commanding Officer's discretion to investigate sexual assault themselves. They must now refer to the service police. But for the necessary independence and expertise, it is the civilian police who must investigate these crimes
— Liberty (@libertyhq) October 14, 2018