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13 October 2023 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

Army inquiry finds sexual harassment from boss led to female soldier’s suicide

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In this week’s episode, the abuse team discusses the recent inquiry into 19-year-old soldier Jaysley Beck, who took her own life after an intense period of sexual harassment behaviour by her boss. The report highlighted her reluctance to report her superior.

Organisations like the army are breeding grounds for misogynistic behaviour, and until a shift in culture occurs, sexual harassment claims will only continue to rise. While this report shows the dangers of this culture, it is highly unlikely to lead to any real change.

A teenage female soldier, Jaysley Beck (19), was found dead at Larkhill Camp in December 2021, believed to have taken her own life, after an intense period of sexual abuse and harassment from her boss.

A service inquiry report published last week describes “an intense period of unwelcome behaviour” and said it is “almost certain this was a causal factor” in the 19-year-old’s death.

In October 2021, Jaysley’s immediate boss sent her more than 1,000 WhatsApp messages and voicemails, according to the report. The next month this increased to over 3,500.
The army investigation found her boss wanted a relationship with her, but she had a boyfriend and did not feel the same way.

Whilst the texting and harassment ended a week before her death, it appears that it continued to affect her and had taken a significant toll on her mental resilience and wellbeing.

The service inquiry report noted that Gunner Beck had no diagnosed mental health conditions and had not sought welfare support from anyone in the army.

The statistics do not support that positive change is happening or that there has been a culture shift to support those suffering to receive the support they need in order to continue in a career no doubt they love and do not wish to give up due to no fault of their own. There needs to be strict guidance on no nonsense policy of sexual harassment or abuse, with clear disciplinary action for perpetrators along with confidential support for anyone suffering.

Military abuse/harassment are also subject to civil claims, and this should also be considered by the individual, that they could claim for any physical or psychological injury, loss of salary and benefits including pension in addition to therapy.

If you or someone you know have experienced sexual abuse in the workplace, please get in touch with our sexual abuse specialists for an informal discussion.

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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