Sexual abuse, no matter how it happens, can be a traumatic experience for the victim. Serving in our Armed Forces is a dangerous job and serving personnel, whether full-time or reservists, train for all dangerous situations. That said, no one should ever be in a position where sexual abuse takes place. When this happens, it needs to be dealt with appropriately.
If you have been sexually assaulted, it is important to remember, it is not your fault. Don’t be afraid to get help.
Where to get help when serving in our Armed Forces:
A doctor or nurse at your medical centre
Hospital A&E department
Service Police or Civilian Police (999 or 101)
Sexual Assault Referral Centres
Rape Crisis Line 0808 802 9999 (12 to 2:30pm and 7-9:30pm)
Unit Welfare Services
This list is not endless and depending on where you are based, more local help and support may be available.
Sexual assault is any act carried out without active consent. Being drunk, dressing a certain way, not saying no, being in a relationship with the person, these are not examples of consent.
For some, the option of reporting what’s happened may be too daunting. There are various reasons for this. Embarrassment, feeling like it’s your fault, not having an approachable Chain of Command, and, the perpetrator being part of the complaints process, can all lead to incidents going unreported.
Sexual trauma can include so called ‘initiation ceremonies’, sexual talk or behaviours, derogatory sexual comments, inappropriate and unwelcome touching.
Sexual trauma and sexual abuse may lead to mental ill health and if left untreated can have a negative impact on your whole life. It is important to seek help no matter when the incident or incidents took place.
Compensation can never turn the clock back, but it may help towards health care treatment or holistic therapies that can aid recovery.
Civilian Personal Injury Claims
Personal Injury Claims are usually brought against the MOD as the employer. Employers may be vicariously liable for the behaviour of their employees.
Forces Law have specialist lawyers who can advise on all aspects of making a claim. Time limits exist and it is important to ask for advice as soon as possible.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Claims under the CICA scheme can be made for sexual assault and rape. The Government scheme can be applied for online without the need to speak to a lawyer. We would always recommend taking legal advice.
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
AFCS may be another option to claim compensation. This is not an easy route to take and there will be many obstacles to making an AFCS claim. If a recognised mental health diagnosis has been received because of service and service is the predominant reason for the diagnosis, it may be possible.
We understand the Service Complaints system is flawed when it comes to investigating some complaints. Often the Investigating Officer may be friends with the alleged perpetrator. Forces Law have lawyers who can advise and take on service complaint matters if you feel you are not getting the representation from your Chain of Command that you expect.
If you wish to discuss a potential claim with us, please get in touch for a confidential consultation.
The most important point that we can make is to take advice from one of our specialist firms as soon as possible if you have any related query.