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Ask your MP and MSP to sign these parliamentary motions
23/11/2016

Contact information for your MP/MSP

You can find contact information for your MP/MSP, and email them, on this page. See below for sample texts for MPs (UK wide) and MSPs (Scotland only) that you may wish to use and some background information.

You could also send your MP/MSP this briefing for parliamentarians outlining the arguments in favour of raising the age of recruitment.


Sample text to send to your MP for Early Day Motion 694 on The Recruitment of Minors into the UK Armed Forces

I would like to draw your attention to the report published by the public health charity Medact in October, The Recruitment of Children by the UK Armed Forces: A Critique from Health Professionals

The report looks at the psychological and psychosocial vulnerabilities of adolescents in the context of military recruitment marketing strategies and making long-term risky decisions; and examines the evidence that under 18 recruits face greater risks to health than adult recruits, across the course of an armed forces career.

The report finds that child recruits are more vulnerable to PTSD, alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide, death and injury across the course of an armed forces career when compared to adult recruits. They are more likely than adults to end up in riskier frontline combat roles, due to the limited pathways open to the youngest recruits. The report further states that military recruitment marketing and practices take advantage of adolescent cognitive and psychosocial vulnerabilities.

The continued recruitment of children into the British armed forces is of great concern in the light of the evidence collected in the Medact report. The age of recruitment should be reviewed in line with recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, children's rights organisations in the UK and the UK's Children's Commissioners.

Please sign Early Day Motion 694 on The Recruitment of Minors into the UK Armed Forces requesting that the UK's recruitment age is reviewed.

Sample text to send to your MSP (Scotland only) for motion S5M-02539 on the Medact Report on British Armed Forces Recruitment

I would like to draw your attention to the report published by the public health charity Medact in October, The Recruitment of Children by the UK Armed Forces: A Critique from Health Professionals 

The report looks at the psychological and psychosocial vulnerabilities of adolescents in the context of military recruitment marketing strategies and making long-term risky decisions; and examines the evidence that under 18 recruits face greater risks to health than adult recruits, across the course of an armed forces career.

The report finds that child recruits are more vulnerable to PTSD, alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide, death and injury across the course of an armed forces career when compared to adult recruits. They are more likely than adults to end up in riskier frontline combat roles, due to the limited pathways open to the youngest recruits. The report further states that military recruitment marketing and practices take advantage of adolescent cognitive and psychosocial vulnerabilities.

The continued recruitment of children into the British armed forces is of great concern in the light of the evidence collected in the Medact report. The age of recruitment should be raised in line with recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, children's rights organisations in the UK and the UK's Children's Commissioners.

In light of the Medact report, it is important that armed forces activities within education are regulated, as many of these activities have a recruitment purpose. The school environment must not be a place in which adolescent psychological and psychosocial vulnerabilities are exploited; it should be a place that fosters critical discussion and informed decision-making.  

Please sign motion S5M-02539 on the Medact Report on British Armed Forces Recruitment.

Sample text to send to your MSP (Scotland only) for motion S5M-02912 on The British Army's Increased Intake of 16-year-olds 

I would like to draw your attention to this motion which expresses concern that the British Army is increasing its intake of 16-year-olds and calls for a review of the recruitment age.

Sixteen year olds are now the single biggest age group entering the army. This is of particular concern given that the youngest recruits are channelled towards the infantry, where the risks of fatality or serious injury are significantly higher. Furthermore, the youngest recruits are more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide and to poorer long-term outcomes. Please read this briefing by Child Soldiers International for more information: https://www.child-soldiers.org/shop/the-british-armed-forces-why-raising-the-recruitment-age-would-benefit-everyone

The requirement that those who enlist at 16 are required to serve up to two years longer than adult recruits is discriminatory and should not be allowed to continue. It locks these young people into a decison they made before they became adults. These policies put the army’s convenience above young people’s best interests. Young people are actively encouraged to leave school early and then offered only the most unpopular, dangerous roles in the armed forces alongside substandard qualifications.

Public opinion shows a clear demand that the minimum age of armed forces enlistment should be 17 and I urge you to further this be signing motion S5M-02912 on The British Army's Increased Intake of 16-year-olds .

Background information

UK Parliament Early Day Motion calling on the Government to review the recruitment age

Ask your MP to sign this Early Day Motion 694 on The Recruitment of Minors into the UK Armed Forces

That this House notes the contents of the Medact Report into the effects of the recruitment of minors by the UK armed forces, published in October 2016; further notes the report's findings that child recruits are more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide, death and injury during an armed forces career when compared to either their demographically-matched civilian peers or adult recruits; notes that the report concludes that the current practices for recruiting minors into the UK armed forces do not meet the criteria for full and informed consent, in part due to the fact that adolescents' cognitive and psychosocial development make them unfairly susceptible to military recruitment marketing; notes that the report's conclusion states that those recruited as children, on turning 18, are more likely than adult recruits to end up in frontline combat roles which carry greater risks than other roles; recalls the repeated condemnation of UK armed forces' recruitment of minors by national child rights experts and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Deepcut Review's recommendation that the minimum enlistment age should be reviewed; notes the growing body of independent research evidencing significant detrimental outcomes for the youngest recruits; and calls on the Government to launch a review of the minimum armed forces enlistment age.

 
Scottish Parliament motion on the Medact report on the vulnerabilities for under-18 recruits

If you are in Scotland, ask your MSP to sign motion S5M-02539 on the Medact Report on British Armed Forces Recruitment

That the Parliament acknowledges the recent report from the health charity, Medact, on the recruitment of under 18s into the British armed forces; notes that the main findings of the report state that child recruits are more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide, death and injury during an armed forces career when compared with adult recruits; considers that military recruitment marketing takes advantage of adolescent cognitive and psychosocial vulnerabilities among under 18s; further considers that the current practices for recruiting children into the armed forces do not meet the criteria for full and informed consent; believes that those recruited as children, upon turning 18, are more likely than adult recruits to end up in frontline combat roles, which carry greater risks than other roles; is dismayed to note that recruitment of children into the armed forces can start at age 15; understands that the 2007 armed forces document, Engagement with UK Schools, indicated that the main driver of armed forces visits to schools was with the purpose of recruitment; believes that this is reiterated further in the Ministry of Defence's 2011 Youth Engagement Review, and encourages members from across the Parliament, as well as those with experience of working with children and young people, to read the Medact report.


Scottish Parliament motion on British Army's increased intake of 16 year olds

If you are in Scotland, ask your MSP to sign motion S5M-02912 on The British Army's Increased Intake of 16-year-olds 

That the Parliament notes that the Ministry of Defence released its latest recruitment figures on 24 November 2016, with figures showing what it believes is a marked increase in the recruitment of 16-year-olds, making this the single biggest age group entering the army; notes that the army recruitment strategy states that the recruitment of minors is to mitigate a shortfall in recruits older than age 18, particularly for the infantry; believes this to be the most dangerous section of the armed forces, with infantry personnel in Afghanistan, for example, seven times more likely to be killed than from any other section of the British Army; acknowledges that the Royal Courts of Justice has ruled that the British Army does discriminate against recruits who are under the age of 18 due to a minimum service period that is far longer than older recruits, and has given them unlimited powers to do so; recognises that in 2014 a poll found that 78% of respondents who expressed a view thought that the minimum armed forces enlistment age should be 18, and supports calls for the UK Government to launch a review of the minimum armed forces enlistment age.


More info on the Medact report

The Recruitment of Children by the UK Armed Forces: A Critique from Health Professionals

Medact is a public health charity.The report looks at the psychological and psychosocial vulnerabilities of adolescents in the context of military recruitment marketing strategies and making long-term risky decisions; and examines the evidence that under 18 recruits face greater risks to health than adult recruits, across the course of an armed forces career. In summary, the report calls for the recruitment age to be raised to 18.

The Medact report discusses the psychological and psychosocial reasons why children should not be encouraged to make a decision to join the armed forces:

'16 and 17 year olds (and to a lesser extent, many young adults as well) are still maturing emotionally and intellectually. This period of development is characterised by more impulsive and emotionally driven decision-making, which is only tempered by cognitive and rational decision-making processes later in the developmental trajectory.'  

The report finds that child recruits are more vulnerable to PTSD, alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide, death and injury across the course of an armed forces career when compared to adult recruits. They are more likely than adults to end up in riskier frontline combat roles, due to the limited pathways open to the youngest recruits. The report further states that military recruitment marketing and practices take advantage of adolescent cognitive and psychosocial vulnerabilities.

The continued recruitment of children into the British armed forces is of great concern in the light of the evidence collected in the Medact report. The age of recruitment should be raised in line with recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, children's rights organisations in the UK and the UK's Children's Commissioners.


Campaign to raise the age of recruitment

The Medact report supports the campaign to increase armed forces recruitment age to 18. This campaign is supported by numerous bodies, from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to the UK's four Children's Commissioners, concerned with children's rights and welfare.

You could also send your MP/MSP this briefing for parliamentarians outlining the arguments in favour of raising the age of recruitment from Child Soldiers International.  

We know that political views on this are split strongly between those who recognise the child welfare issues at stake, and those concerned that reducing recruitment would mean reducing job opportunities. We would be really grateful for your help in lobbying your MP/MSP as it's important to show the breadth of support behind this initiative, especially given the army's increasing targeting of 16 year olds this year.


Campaigning for more scrutiny of armed forces visits to schools - for the Scotland motion

The Scottish Parliament motion notes that:  'the 2007 armed forces document, Engagement with UK Schools, indicated that the main driver of armed forces visits to schools was with the purpose of recruitment; believes that this is reiterated further in the Ministry of Defence's 2011 Youth Engagement Review, and encourages members from across the Parliament, as well as those with experience of working with children and young people, to read the Medact report.'

The recruitment agenda behind armed forces visits to schools in Scotland is highly concerning in light of the Medact report which states that armed forces 'marketing and recruitment practices do not involve the provision of balanced information' and that they 'appeal to adolescent decision-making biases by portraying military life in glamorous terms.' The school environment must not be a place in which adolescent psychological and psychosocial vulnerabilities are exploited; it should be a place that fosters critical discussion and informed decision-making.

The Scotland Government's Petitions Committee is currently considering our petition calling for greater transparency, scrutiny and guidance around armed forces visits to schools in Scotland. See details here.

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