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Military Claims

Military Sexual Assault Claims

Our specialist military claims team has represented many service men and women who have suffered a sexual assault and we’ve seen the devastating impact it can have. Read on for how we can help you.

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We take great care to discuss the case confidentially and sensitively with our client and help them to find the support they need and the compensation they deserve.

If you have been affected by sexual assault in the military please get in touch with our team for confidential advice. We usually represent clients on a no-win, no-fee basis, so making a claim will not be a financial burden.

What is considered sexual assault in the military?

Service personnel assume that the special bond they have with their comrades will mean they are never in danger of any kind of assault, never mind one of a sexual nature.

It is this very camaraderie and esprit de corps that makes such assaults feel, if anything, like more of a betrayal, made even worse if the chain of command has not taken steps to protect the victim.

What’s more, the true scale of the problem is likely to be underestimated, given that what is considered sexual assault in the military can differ from that of the rest of the UK. According to the Centre for Military Justice, a large number of important sexual offences are not included in the Ministry of Defence’s sexual offences reports, such as creating or possessing indecent images of children, ‘revenge porn’ offences, and criminal harassment offences. They also highlight that there are cases where allegations of sexual assault are reduced down to lesser charges such as battery.

How Bolt Burdon Kemp can help

Sexual assault can often be the culmination of a campaign of sexual harassment or bullying and the victims of such operations are in an especially vulnerable position. Our team knows this, and has great experience in sensitively helping victims get redress for their experiences.

Our military team have represented a number of servicemen and women, of all ranks, who have suffered a sexual assault whilst on or off duty. We understand the mental and physical distress that it can cause and the devastating impact it has on your life.  Our highly trained military solicitors are able to help you secure compensation.

We take great care to discuss the case confidentially and sensitively with our client and help them to find the support they need and the compensation they deserve.

We are aware of the deeply rooted culture of fear in coming forward, but in this day and age, nobody should be forced to ‘put up and shut up’ any longer. It is essential to report all forms of abuse to a senior officer, and make a service complaint within three months of the incident. Serious allegations of an assault should be investigated by both the Royal Military Police (RMP) and civilian police so that criminal proceedings can be brought against the abuser.

It is possible to bring a negligence claim against both the abuser and the Ministry of Defence, especially where the perpetrator was acting in a position of trust and authority.

Is sexual assault common in the military?

Unfortunately there is no systematic information gathering about the number of allegations of sexual assault in the UK military.

This needs to remedied, especially as the US and Australian military are getting increasing reports of sexual assault.

At the moment, we do not know if the UK military’s experience is the same. The Army’s Sexual Harassment Report hasn’t been updated since 2018, while the report for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines isn’t due to be released until March 2022.

So, to understand how common sexual assault is in the military, we have to consult a variety of reports. The latest figures in the Sexual Offences in the Service Justice System reports state that they had 10 investigations of sexual assault with penetration ongoing in 2020 and 89 of sexual assault with no penetration – with the report noting that these numbers have decreased from the year before.

According to a study of 750 female veterans by the BMJ Military Health journal, 22.5% of women have been sexually harassed in the military, with 5.1% reporting being sexually assaulted. Younger servicewomen who hold the rank of officer or had a combat support role were the most likely to suffer bad treatment, including bullying.

The Centre for Military Justice, an independent charity providing free legal advice for military personnel, is campaigning for better awareness and education for matters relating to bullying, harassment, discrimination, sexual offending and complaints in the Armed Forces. Their work and advocacy can help remedy some of the problems discussed on this page.

Our Head of Military Claims, Ahmed Al-Nahhas, is equally passionate about raising awareness of these issues. In March 2021, he gave evidence to the Defence Sub-Committee on women in the Armed Forces, as part of the government’s enquiry on protecting women in the Armed Forces from recruitment to civilian life.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault in the military, then please contact our highly experienced team of military claims experts for confidential advice about bringing a claim for compensation.

Meet our Military Claims Team

Victoria Sedgwick
Senior Solicitor – Part of the Military Claims Team
Gaggan Mawi
Senior Associate – Part of the Military Claims Team
Hannah Swarbrick
Senior Associate – Part of the Military Claims Team
Meet the full team

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