Sexual Harassment of servicewomen within the British armed forces

Alarmingly, a recent survey conducted by the British Army has found that 4 in 10 women serving in the military have been a victim of sexual harassment in the last year. Further to this, and perhaps more worryingly the majority of these women have not reported such harassment for fear of the repercussions on their career and the way they will be perceived by colleagues.

Of the 7000 servicewomen surveyed 44%, just under half, were of the opinion that some parts of the Army had a problem with sexual harassment. 33% of the women surveyed stated that someone had spoken to them inappropriately about sexual matters and 12% had experienced an unwelcome attempt to touch them.

One in 10 of those surveyed advised they had a “particularly upsetting experience” yet surprisingly only 3% made a formal report of the incident. In excess of two thirds of the women surveyed advised that the incident had occurred at their military base or within their training unit.

A much smaller proportion of men, just 6%, make similar complaints to the above.

These “disappointing” figures have been acknowledged by Army Chief General, Sir Nick Carter, as “totally unacceptable” however with roughly 10% of the British Armed Forces comprising of women, some 15,780 personnel, it is clear that more must be done to address this issue.

The daily Telegraph has reported, following a freedom of information request, that between 2011 and 2013, 75 allegations of rape and 150 allegations of sexual assault were made to military police.

Sadly, this recent survey further corroborates the findings of a 2013 Business in the Community report, where it was found, more generally, that 23% of female personnel had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace since 2010.

It would appear to us at Michael Lewin Solicitors that the unacceptable sexual harassment of women in the work place remains prevalent and must be addressed by employers. Michael Lewin Solicitors have successfully represented in claims numerous victims of sexual harassment within the work place, both within the armed forces and the more general working community at large.

Michael Lewin Solicitors are specialists in claims of Sexual Harassment and Harassment in the work place within the work place having recovered thousands in compensation both against the Ministry of Defence and numerous other employers in claims of this nature.

If you believe that you would benefit from legal advice on this matter or believe that you have a claim against your employer, please call us on 0844 499 9302 or email

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