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Channel 4 report on how the MoD deal with bullying and assault in the armed forces and new indications that they recognise that the chain of command is part of the problem. Can it be tackled if the new Ombudsman that the MoD has announced will not be independent?
From Alex Thomson's blog:
The apparently endless cycle is dispiriting and depressing. The assaults, the initiation rites, the beasting, the beatings, the rapes…and of course the suicides.
Look no further than the tragedy of Anne-Marie Ellement, the military policewoman who complained of being raped and was relentlessly bullied until she killed herself – in the news again just last week.
The British armed forces: institutions which have shown themselves largely incapable of dealing with issues like bullying, so clearly embedded in service culture. Why else would the cases still make the headlines year in, year out?
So it is that soon after the Ellement tragedy comes news to day from the MOD of an overhaul to the system. The setting up of a new Ombudsman with – says the MOD – “dramatically boosted” powers to intervene for the first time in individual cases at an early stage.
Sounds long overdue and in fairness the MOD themselves indicate that it is. Internal documents sent to Channel 4 News show them recognising that the behaviour of the chain of command in handling complaints is part of the problem.