New military code of conduct follows sexual harassment report

A recent survey of women serving in the British Armed Forces revealed that many servicewomen are not coming forward to report incidences of sexual harassment. Following the survey, General Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the British Army, has announced that the Army will develop a new code of conduct for all forces personnel to ensure that everyone is treated “in an inclusive way”.

What is Being Proposed?

The new Army Leadership Code was announced by General Carter at Army Leadership Code. He said the code of conduct was an attempt to tackle incidences of sexual harassment and bullying, but rejected concerns that the code would turn the Armed Forces into a “politically correct brigade”.

Speaking after a year in his post as the Chief of General Staff, General Sir Nick Carter said that the Armed Forces must not tolerate behaviour which is inappropriate, and which has in the past caused personnel to put in claims for prejudice and sexual discrimination.

The new Code aims to promote tolerance, and tackle behavioural issues such as sexual harassment or bullying.

In response to the earlier survey, General Carter branded the level of sexual harassment reported by female services personnel as “totally unacceptable”.

Army survey – shocking results

General Carter’s words come after the revelation that 40% of female services personnel reported being sexually harassed in the previous 12 months, but did not report what had happened as they feared it might affect their career prospects.

The first survey, which was carried out by the Army among 7,000 members of the Armed Forces discovered that:

  • Nearly 40% of female services personnel had received unwanted comments about their sexuality or looks over the past 12 months.
  • 13% of women surveyed said that they had experienced a “particularly upsetting experience”.
  • A third of them said that someone had attempted to engage them in unwelcome conversations of a sexual nature.
  • One in 8 – 12% – said that they had experienced unwelcome attempts to touch them.
  • Only 3% of women who had been very upset by an event had come forward to make a formal complaint.
  • Nearly two thirds of people surveyed reported that incidents had happened at their training unit or base.
  • 44% of respondents stated that they believed that in some parts of the Army, harassment was a problem.

It was also found that senior officers were four times less likely to report sexual harassment than more junior soldiers.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that between 2011 and 2013, 75 reports of rape and 150 of sexual assault were made to the military police.

In July 2014 there were 15,780 women serving in the British military, which equates to around 1 in 10 of the total numbers of service personnel.

Earlier concerns raised by the Service Complaints Commissioner

Military watchdogs raised concerns about the failing complaints system last year.

Susan Atkins, the Service Complaints Commissioner (SCC), said that there had been a rise in the number of reported cases of discrimination, bullying and harassment in 2013, reversing the trend of the previous years. She said that this situation was a “serious challenge” for senior Army management. She also reiterated that a staggering 40% of female personnel had been victims of sexual harassment in the past year.

SCC had set improvement goals for the Army for 2013, none of which were met. Dr Atkins raised serious concerns about the length of time it took to deal with complaints received from service personnel.

According to the report, complaints received by the Army were up 12% over the year. Only 25% of these were resolved in the target period of 24 weeks, and only 26% were resolved after a year.

Charities working with services personnel welcomed the new Code, saying it would be a positive step for the Armed Forces.

Victim of Sexual harassment in the UK Military? Want to make a Discrimination Claim?

Wherever you are based, for specialist, clear, practical legal advice, get in touch with our Military Lawyers today:

  • By phone locally on [01722 422300] or free on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544
  • or e-mail our team using the contact form below

    Forces Veterans PTSD Cases Rise 26% in 12 Months

    Military charity Combat Stress has raised concerns about the large increase in numbers of veterans seeking treatment for mental health problems including PTSD after serving in Iraq of Afghanistan. It reported a surge in numbers of 26% in just one year.
    Combat Stress is now dealing with 6 new HM Forces veterans asking for help every day, and has never been busier in its history.

    The 26% increase in the last twelve months is twice the rise seen in the previous twelve months, and is due to a dramatic rise in the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans coming forward.

    This latest leap in cases follow on from many years of increases, and the cases of PTSD stemming from recent conflicts will only continue to rise, according to Combat Stress. The charity is calling for more NHS treatment for veterans.

    Armed Forces PTSD – MoD denial

    The UK Ministry of Defence however claims that the number of the cases of depression and PTSD in members of the Armed Forces is no greater than in the general population as a whole.
    Statistics show that over the last year, 2,264 ex-soldiers, sailors or airmen came forward to veterans’ mental health charities seeking help. 75% of those undergoing treatment have PTSD, and many of those also suffer from depression or have problems with alcohol or drugs.

    Earlier PTSD treatment – the good news

    The good news is that veterans from these recent conflicts also appear to be coming forward far more quickly than military personnel who served in previous military conflicts – in particular in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands.

    Statistics also show that veterans of the war in Afghanistan wait on average 2.2 years after leaving the Armed Forces before seeking treatment. Iraq veterans come forward after 4 years, but veterans from earlier conflicts take 13 years to seek help.

    Further good news is that military personnel who served in Afghanistan or Iraq are thought to be better informed about mental health issues, and in addition, to feel less stigma about admitting they need help.

    The lag in personnel coming forward means that Combat Stress expects to see the number of people coming forward to grow for some years to come, and the charity strongly encourages anyone who suspects that they are suffering from PTSD to seek help.

    The MoD said that any increase was down to its work to reduce levels of stigma surrounding PTSD, and to encourage personnel to come forward. It also stated that there were no greater numbers of Forces personnel suffering from PTSD than in the public as a whole.

    An academic paper in the British Medical Journal also stated that Combat Stress’s six week intensive therapy programme saw an improvement in PTSD symptoms in 87% of cases.

    Victim of Military PTSD? Thinking of Compensation Claim? Contact Us Now

    Whether you are currently serving in the UK Forces or have retired from the military, if you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and think you could be entitled to compensation, contact us now.

    Don’t delay – or you could lose your right to claim the compensation you deserve.

    Contact us for free phone advice, a free first appointment and no win no fee representation

    • Call FREEPHONE (0800) 140 4544 Now  OR
    • E-mail our team using the contact form below

      Military Divorce – New Family Lawyer in Amesbury

      Military Divorce and Family Lawyer in Amesbury. Liam OliverWith military work from armed forces personnel based on Salisbury Plain forming an increasing amount of our family law team’s caseload, we need a specialist family lawyer based full-time in Amesbury.

      So we thought it would be useful to introduce our new family law team member to you – so if you need legal advice about any aspect of family law, civil partnership dissolution, relationship breakdown or divorce, you have a friendly face to turn to.

      Liam Oliver– Liam joined Bonallack and Bishop in July 2019 as part of the FamilyTeam . Liam is currently training through CILEx Law School and is working towards becoming a qualified Chartered Legal Executive. He personally runs the weekly drop-in family surgery the firm’s Amesbury office.

      Liam can be contacted directly at our Amesbury office on 01980 676612 or at liam.oliver@bishopslaw.com

      When Liam isn’t at work or revising hard for an exam he likes to keep active by playing rugby or being at the gym. He can also be found out on the water on his boat fishing in Poole Bay with family and friends or on the bank enjoying the sun with some rods in the water.

      Military Divorce – how we can help you

      Don’t forget that here at Bonallack and Bishop, we continue to offer the following;

      • A FREE 30 minutes first interview for divorce and family law issues
      • The free drop-in ‘Family Law’ surgery every Wednesday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm at our Amesbury office at 5 Salisbury Street. No appointment necessary
      • 10% discount to all serving and retired members of the military on all our legal services

      Based in Bulford, Tidworth or elsewhere on Salisbury plain? Going through military divorce? Contact us now

      Whether you are currently serving in the UK Forces or have retired from the military, if you are currently going through a relationship breakdown or thinking about getting divorced, our specialist military divorce team have the experience you need need.

      • Call Kate at our Amesbury office directly on [01980] 622992  for FREE initial phone advice or
      •        Drop in to our  Family Law surgery every Wednesday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm at our Amesbury office at 5 Salisbury Street
      •        E-mail our team using the contact form below

        World War I Courts Martial

        When the First World War broke out in 1914, no-one could have predicted the death and devastation that would follow, and certainly not the scale on which it happened. However, the deaths did not come only in battle and active service. Between August 1914 and March 1920, more than 3,000 members of the British Armed Forces were sentenced to death through courts martial because of misdemeanours committed during a time of war.

        Although some of the crimes were relatively serious — desertion, murder, espionage and mutiny, for example — others were far less serious by today’s standards. Many men were sentenced to death for crimes as small as striking a superior officer — something which seems very extreme by the standards we have set for ourselves in the modern age.

        It is worth noting that around 90% of those military court sentences were later commuted to penal servitude or hard labour, although many men still faced the firing squad for a number of military misdemeanours which might nowadays seem rather mild. In total, 346 men were executed, three for sleeping at their post, two for casting away arms and eighteen for cowardice. Although nowadays we might see these crimes as small and relatively insignificant, the names of these men still do not appear on official war memorials and they are largely forgotten and officially regarded as traitors to their country.

        With so many men affected by seeing their friends killed and mutilated on a daily basis, it can hardly come as a surprise that so many soldiers were affected in ways which led them to run away from battle or hesitate when faced with the enemy. The military top brass, though, saw things differently. The firing squads were meant to be a deterrent to those considering any act of disobedience, and many see them as a necessary means to having won the war. Just over a decade after the end of the war, in 1930, the military death penalty was completely outlawed.

        Although it is often argued that mental illness and distress symptoms have only recently been accepted and seen as real medical issues, this appears not to be a reasonable line of reason to take. The Ancient Greeks, for example, already recognised post-traumatic stress disorder, calling it ‘war exhaustion’.

        In recent years, the British Legion and other groups have called for the executed men to be officially recognised on war memorials and to be given official military pardons. Many academics have argued against this, saying that we can’t impose our modern views on punishment on events which happened a century ago. Regardless, though, the tide is turning towards forgiveness and a growing number of people are seeking to see the soldiers officially pardoned, perhaps finally allowing them and their memories to lay to rest.

        Due To Appear Before A Court Martial? Call us today

        Our Armed Forces team have the expertise you need.

        • Call them directly today on [01980] 622992 for FREE initial phone advice or

        • E-mail our team using the contact form below

          The most serious military law offences in the UK

          In uk military law, the sentences that can be imposed can vary wildly from dismissal from active service to life imprisonment. It can be surprising to the civilian population just which offences carry the harshest sentences, as it often does not necessarily reflect what might be considered to be a serious offence in the civilian world.

          For example, allowing fuel to overflow when filling a petrol tank is considered to be misapplying or wasting public or service property, a section 25 offence which carries a maximum sentence of dismissal with disgrace. The same punishment can be given to an officer who flies an aircraft in a manner which annoys someone else. These may seem like small, petty crimes to the civilian population — or perhaps not even crimes at all — but are seen as very serious in the Armed Forces – largely because of the significant danger of explosion that overflowing petrol can cause.

          Up to two years’ imprisonment can be given for a number of offences, including intentionally flying below 2,000 feet in a fixed-wing aircraft or 500 feet in a helicopter, resisting arrest, obstructing or failing to assist an officer when requested bullying a colleague or being unfit through alcohol or drugs. The sentence also applies to disclosure of information, failing to attend duty or perform a duty and disrespectful behaviour to a superior officer.

          Ten years’ imprisonment can be given for putting colleagues at risk, failing to escape or preventing others from escaping when it was reasonably possible, using violence against or threatening a superior officer or recklessly obeying a command. The most serious sentence which can be given by a military court is that of life imprisonment, which is applicable to quite a surprising number of offences.

          Military offences – what can lead to life imprisonment?

          Life imprisonment in a military prison can be the sentence that results from dangerous flying, giving false air signals to aircraft or interfering with the signals, recklessly hazarding a ship, being absent without leave (desertion), failing to suppress a mutiny with prior knowledge, attempting mutiny or disobeying lawful authority, taking property from killed or injured officers, surrendering or abandonment without reasonable excuse and assisting an enemy. Even providing an enemy with supplies or harbouring or protecting them can result in life imprisonment, and all of the above are viewed very seriously in the military world and the resultant punishment will depend on the extenuating circumstances and the views of the Judge Advocate and the Board.

          It is also worth remembering that civilians are liable to be prosecuted under military law should they be working as an MOD contractor or for any one of a number of other organisations, are on military grounds or are in a designated area with a spouse or acquaintance who is on active military duty. It is for this reason that it is important that the nuances of military law and its applicable sentences are known to all, as it is reasonably possible that they could apply to anyone — not just active service personnel.

          Contact one of our Court Martial Lawyers today

          If you are due to appear before courts martial, you are going to need specialist military solicitors – we have the expertise you need our Armed Forces team have the expertise you need.

          • Call our team directly today on [01980] 622992 for FREE initial phone advice or
          • E-mail our team using the contact form below

            FHTB scheme – Government launches cheap loans to help military families buy their own homes

            April 1, 2014, saw the launch of FHTB – a new government cheap home loan scheme aimed at helping UK Armed Forces personnel and their families onto the first rung of the property ladder.

            What is FHTB?

            The new Forces Help to Buy [FHTB] scheme is aimed primarily at helping first-time buyers, along with those who need to move home, following a new posting. The loans aren’t available to buy a second property.

            The scheme is set to run as a three-year pilot scheme and the MOD has apparently made over £200 million available to fund it.

            With cuts to the MoD budget, why has the government decided to provide a new source of funding? Certainly the MoD has made it clear for some time that they don’t want to have responsibility for housing the current number of Armed Forces personnel and their families. Furthermore, it appears that home ownership figures for serving military personnel are low when compared to home ownership in the civilian population. For example, whilst around 70% of officers are home owners, that compares with a full 90% of the similar socio-economic group. For other ranks, the rate of home ownership is much lower – just 35%, which compares with 65% of the equivalent civilian population grouping.

            Why is the rate of ownership so low? One of the reasons is that many serving Armed Forces personnel find difficulties in getting mortgages from mainstream lenders, particularly those lenders who use automated credit scoring systems – partly due to a limited credit history caused by frequently being posted abroad, and as result, not appearing on any electoral register.

            What happens to AFHOS and LSAP?

            The FHTB scheme replaces the earlier Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme, which has now been scrapped and in addition, the long service advance of pay loan scheme has been frozen. Those already in receipt of LSAP loan is not affected, but no new applications are being taken for that particular scheme.

            FHTB looks like being much more popular

            It seems likely that there may be significantly more take-up of this new FHTB scheme – but why?

            1. It’s much more generous – allowing a loan of up to half your salary, subject to a maximum of £25K, repayable in monthly instalments deducted from your salary, over 10 years.
            2. It can be used in addition to the existing help to buy scheme, which provides taxpayer insurance of up to 15% of the mortgage.

            I want to know more about FHTB

            Needless to say, there are limits on the eligibility of the scheme. Click here for much more information on how the scheme will actually work and how it relates to those already with all LSAP mortgage.

            Want to buy a home using a FHTB Loan? Contact us today

            Our conveyancing team has over 20 years experience in helping hundreds of members of the UK Armed Forces and their families throughout England and Wales in buying their own homes.

            • Call our FHTB team directly now on [01264] 364433 for a FREE quote or

            • E-mail us using the contact form below

               

              Deployment – the latest MOD guidance on wills for the military

              As you may be aware, the MOD advises all Armed Forces personnel to draw up a Will with a professional adviser prior to deployment.

              The MOD106 Will is available to all military personnel but the advice from the MOD now goes further and states where a 106 simply will not be enough and when any service personnel must seek professional/legal advice in certain circumstances. In fact, even the Form 106 basic will form states in bold at the top of the form “you are advised to seek professional/legal advice before completing this form” We set out below in italics the circumstances below – please note this is taken, word for word, directly from the MOD’s own guidance which is printed on the Form 106 will itself ie:

              You need legal advice on making a will –

              • Where you share/purchased a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner;

              • Where you wish to make provision for a dependant who is unable to care for themselves;

              • Where there are several family members who may make a claim on the estate; for example a 2nd wife; children from a previous marriage; children from a relationship of which your partner/spouse is not aware but you wish to take care of them;

              • Where your permanent home is not in the UK or if you have foreign bank accounts or overseas properties;

              • Where there is a business involved;

              • Where the Executor resides outside the UK;

              • Where the beneficiary is on state benefits;

              • If money is to be held in trust for children, a solicitor MUST be consulted;

              • If your estate is complex or likely to be of high value.

              Your will – how we can help you

              Remember that if we do a Will for you:

              1. we will store it for FREE – so you always know its safe [most banks charge for storing a will].

              2. you don’t have to change your address every time you move – just let us know where you are if we need to contact you.

              3. we will be someone your family can turn to if the worst happens – we can help them with what needs to be done.

              4. its a one-off fee with our usual 10% military discount – no more charges!

              5. you only need to change your will if something important happens to you such as getting remarried, setting up a business, etc.

              The need to review your will regularly

              Our Wills and probate team always advise clients to review their will regularly – especially after any significant event such as marriage or the death of a partner. But don’t just take our word for it. Again, the MoD are crystal clear in their advice – right at the bottom of the 106 it states in particularly large, bold letters “you should review your will on a regular basis, especially when your personal circumstances change”.

              Thinking of making a military will – contact our military lawyers now

              Here at Bonallack and Bishop, Not only are we military law specialists, but we also have a specialist team of 5 wills and probate lawyers. So if you want legal advice on whether your circumstances mean that the MOD106 cannot legally cover you, or on any other aspect of wills or probate, then please contact Jane Bishop;

              • by calling 07771 961050 (you can also text) and she will ensure that you are properly advised.

              Alternatively you can complete the contact form below and ask for a call back

                Soldiers injured in battle could now claim compensation

                In an historic ruling, the Supreme Court has found that human rights legislation covers soldiers engaged in combat overseas. The court decided that soldiers had inalienable rights under UK law which applied which applied whether they were in the UK or abroad.

                The ruling came after the MoD was taken to court by the families of three men who were killed in service in Iraq when their inadequately armoured vehicles were blown up by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Between 2005 and 2007, Kirk Redpath, Phillip Hewett and Lee Ellis lost their lives and their families sought damages from the MoD for negligently failing to discharge their legal duty of care to protect the soldiers so far as could reasonably be expected. Further claims for compensation were made by the relatives of men who were killed or sustained injuries after the Challenger tank they were in was fired upon by comrades in a separate vehicle. The families argued that the MoD had failed to train the soldiers adequately and that most censurably, it had sent them out in vehicles which were known to be underequipped.

                The MoD’s lawyers argued that the claims were invalid because British soldiers were no longer under UK jurisdiction once they left their British base. The idea of “combat immunity” was central to the defence; the idea that it would be unjust and unreasonable to make the MoD’s duty of care apply to troops in the heat of battle.

                The Supreme Court looked at various matters including whether or not it would indeed be unfair to impose such a duty of care on the MoD. It also looked into whether or not article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights covers British soldiers whilst they are abroad (which would assume that they are within UK jurisdiction).

                It was found that the principle of combat immunity was not relevant in this case and that the soldiers were within UK jurisdiction, therefore giving them human rights as recognised by UK law. However, whether or not those rights were breached will need to be decided at further trials meaning that the legal battles are likely to continue for some time as families will be able to bring claims citing both negligence and breaches of human rights. It is highly likely that the ruling of the Supreme Court Justices will lead to a host of similar claims but each case will be considered on an individual basis.

                The issue of troops being sent into war underequipped has caused major controversy in recent years with stories of troops being forced to buy their own protective equipment shocking newspaper readers. Many have accused the MoD of neglect whilst others have defended the government y saying that it has made the most of limited resources. However, the deaths of the men named in this case demonstrates that soldiers are not receiving the protection they deserve and it is crucial that the MoD responds to the ruling by improving the level of protection afforded to soldiers who are serving overseas.

                Call our military lawyers for expert advice on compensation claims

                If you are considering bringing a military injury claim against the MoD, you will need to have a specialist military lawyers on your side. The team here at Bonallack and Bishop are military law experts and could help you win the compensation you deserve wherever you are based – at home or abroad.

                For FREE initial phone advice and a FREE first appointment about your accident claim,

                • Call us now on [01722] 422300, or complete the contact form below to get in touch.

                  What is a service complaint?

                  According to the Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces, a service complaint is a workplace grievance. It covers wide of area of issues – in dealing with the various ways serving personnel can complain about how they think they have been mistreated in the military. Amongst the areas covered by service complaints are conditions of work, any action taken in respect of inadequate performance At work, and the way in which basic employment related services are delivered – including the payment of wages allowances [or any complaints about military pensions are dealt with by a separate complaint system].

                  Service complaints are sometimes wider in scope than comparable disciplinary and and grievance systems in non-military businesses. For example, service complaints can include dissatisfaction with any action taken by the military police.

                  Many such complaints are resolved informally – but some need formal resolution. Military personnel have, however, limited access to civilian Employment Tribunals. By way of example, a serving soldier can make an employment tribunal claim for compensation in respect of unlawful discrimination [though not disability or age discrimination], but employment tribunals don’t have the power to deal with military personnel when it comes to claims of unfair dismissal or for unfair selection for redundancy.

                  Looking for legal help with a service complaints? Contact us

                  Call a military solicitor from our team today on 01722 442300 or email us using the contact form below

                    Claiming for loss of hearing or deafness in the military

                    Those who have served in the military and suffered hearing loss of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) after 1987 may find that they are eligible to claim compensation.

                    Loud engines, heavy machinery, explosions and gunfire can all lead to hearing loss, especially when Armed Forces personnel are not provided with the equipment they need to protect their hearing. The damage to hearing can be long-term, from tinnitus to deafness and it is only fair that individuals are compensated if they suffer due to failures on the part of the MoD. The MoD is bound by 2005 regulations designed to prevent the exposure of workers to very loud noises. The MoD should provide those exposed to high noise levels with ear plugs but it often not done. The health and hearing of military personnel should also be checked regularly.

                    In order to claim compensation for hearing loss, comprehensive evidence will be needed. An audiologist will be needed to assess the claimant and produce a report on the cause of their injuries and their severity. If it can be shown that the loss of hearing has been sustained due to military service rather than other factors and that this directly resulted from the negligence of the military, the claim is likely to succeed.

                    The armed forces rely on the excellent communication skills and teamwork or all members. Hearing loss can therefore be career threatening. If you have serious hearing difficulties or ear problems such as ear drum perforation or grommets, you will not be accepted into the armed forces. Equally, if you develop serious hearing difficulties, you could be discharged from service.

                    Recent research from a campaign group suggests that 2 out of every 3 members of the armed forces who served in Afghanistan now have hearing difficulties.

                    Call our military lawyers for advice on military deafness claims

                    It is important to instruct expert solicitors for your military deafness compensation claim but these can be difficult to come by. Fortunately, the solicitors at Bonallack & Bishop specialise in military injury claims.

                    Whether you are in the army, navy or air force, if you are thinking of claiming compensation for your hearing loss, get in touch today with us on 01722 422300, or

                    Send us an email via the contact form below.