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25 August 2023 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

Abuse in military settings


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In this week’s episode of HJ Talks about Abuse, the team discusses the recent case of a Royal Navy commander who put his hand down female sailor’s pants on train ride back from day trip to Amsterdam is jailed for 10 months for sexual assault.

Cdr George Walton was head of discipline  and second in demand on one of the biggest war ships  HMS Albion. He served for 25 years

It was found he ignored her protests to lift her top up and put his hand down her shorts.

He was sentenced to 10 months in military detention and dismissed from the navy as a judge said his actions affected morale and affected the reputation.

Sexual abuse in a military setting

In May 2023  there was this headline ‘Groping Major’ guilty of carrying out brazen sexual assault on dance floor at military party.

Major Robin Dews was found to have touched a junior officer intimately and then walked away. There was a court martial hearing. He was found guilty of sexual assault but was cleared of a second charge of groping the female officer’s bottom.

He had previously enjoyed a 24 year exemplary military career.

Women make up 11.4% of the British military and since 2016 no role in the military is closed to women

In an inquiry report on abuse specifically women in the armed forces, concluded in 2021 that two-thirds of serving women had suffered bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination during their career, based on several thousand testimonies submitted to MPs on the defence select committee.

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, said he believed that the situation for women in the armed forces was gradually getting better, but acknowledged that dealing with “cultural challenges” in the military “doesn’t happen overnight”. He added: “The key here is that we take complaints seriously, they’re dealt with without fear or favour, there isn’t undue influence, the chain of command is removed from it,” he said.

U.S. to pay nearly $1M to settle sexual assault case against former top general

The U.S. government will pay nearly $1 million to a retired Army colonel who in 2019 accused a former senior military officer of sexual assault, according to court documents released Thursday.

In 2017, the plaintiff accused the general of unwanted sexual advances and inappropriately touching her in a hotel room during a prominent national security conference in California.

The agreement came to $975,000, according to a statement by Ariel Solomon of Solomon Law Firm, the lawyer representing the plaintiff. Retired Gen. John Hyten has denied the allegations, and an Air Force investigation was unable to find evidence of wrongdoing

Statistics

  • Number of soldiers and sailors appearing at military court charged with sexual offences rose by 70% last year (January 2023)
  • Abuse of women in services often by male personnel.
  • 2022 court heard 55 separate cases of offences such as sexual assault (year before was 32) 50% were found guilty of offences
  • 2022, 29 troops were convicted of either rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual offences – up from 20 in 2021.

Two independent studies have concluded military police and military courts should not be handling these cases, it should be the civilian police and the civilian courts. Our thoughts.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

Author bio

Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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