What are you looking for?

27 August 2021 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

HJ Talks About Abuse: Women in the Armed Forces

itunes listen on apple podcastlisten on spotify podcastslisten on google podcasts e1686741324453

In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor discuss the report of the Defence Sub-Committee on Women in the Armed Forces (“the Committee”) titled “Protecting Those Who Protect Us: Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian Life”.

The Committee’s survey is the first of its kind due to the Ministry of Defence lifting usual restrictions that are in place which stops service personnel from contributing to such inquiries.

The report states that the UK military is “failing to protect” female recruits and has failed to help servicewomen achieve their full potential. Key findings included:

  1. 64% of female veterans, and 58% of currently serving women in the armed forces have experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination;
  2. 62% of those who gave testimony had either witnessed or received “unacceptable behaviour”;
  3. 6 in 10 women did not report the bullying, harassment and discrimination; and
  4. 1 in 3 women who did report the bullying, harassment and discrimination stated that the experience was “extremely poor”.

The Committee made recommendations including that the Ministry of Defence should create a specialised Defence Authority to handle complaints. The Service Complaints Ombudsman also required better resources and its decisions be authorised to be binding.

A further recommendation was that the Ministry of Defence should completely remove cases of rape and sexual assault from military courts and the Service Justice System. Instead, they should be dealt with by the civilian court system. Therefore, the “chain of command” would be removed entirely from complaints of a sexual nature.

We hope that the Ministry of Defence will take this landmark report seriously and make the appropriate changes, as soon as possible, to improve the life of women in the armed forces.


We encourage anyone who has comments or concerns relating to this subject, or about abuse in general, to get in touch with Alan Collins at [email protected]

Author bio

Alan Collins


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.


Next steps

We’re here to get things moving. Drop a message to one of our experts and we’ll get straight back to you.

Call us: 033 3016 2222

Message us