Transitioning from military life to civilian life for women veterans be can very difficult. While serving, female personnel have a job, a career path, somewhere to live and many of the day to day things of life are taken care of. While serving many have been able to focus solely on their careers. Others will have had families to think about also and have to juggle a demanding military life with home life and possibly taking care of children. Often women personnel do not leave the armed forces by choice. Many veterans will have experienced harassment, discrimination and sometimes even rape and sexual assault which essentially pushes them out. We know this to be true based on the disproportionate representation of women in the service complaint system. In June 2020, The Sun newspaper wrote that 35 female personnel reported being raped in 2019.
Salute Her are a unique organisation, (soon to have charitable status) dedicated to solely helping women veterans. Paula Edwards, who heads them up, is a qualified mental health therapist who provides ongoing support and advice to many service users. Salute Her have undertaken their own research into the experiences of women veterans and produced their ground-breaking ‘No Man’s Land’ report in 2019. They spoke to 100 women veterans and found that 85% of them felt that they had been treated differently to their male counterparts, 56% reported being physically assaulted and 52% reported being sexually assaulted. Salute Her understand what women service personnel go through and are well placed to offer the services they do. Their efforts have rightly been lauded by Johnny Mercer MP, the Veterans Minister and Sarah Atherton MP recently exalted their work in the House of Commons.
I am therefore delighted to be collaborating with Salute Her in our first Free Virtual Legal Advice Session. Having acted for women veterans and service personnel I know that many are unfortunately unaware of their legal rights. Whether it is a question to do with an Armed Service Compensation Scheme claim, a Service Complaint or to talk about what options they have if they have experienced sexual harassment, assault or rape. It will be an opportunity for them to ask questions in a safe and confidential environment and hopefully they will receive some clarity of what help is available out to them. If you are a women veteran or still serving and feel you would benefit from the support Salute Her provide, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.