All items from ForcesWatch

Written evidence submitted by ForcesWatch to the Defence Committee's Armed Forces and Veterans Mental Health Inquiry.

We conclude that:

More independent research, in anonymised conditions, needs to be carried out in a number of areas, including:

  • The relationship between early enlistment (especially junior entry), prior vulnerabilities such as socio-economic disadvantage, and short and long-term health impacts.
  • The connection between military training and mental ill-health.
  • Developmental issues that affect adolescents in particular, for example in assessing and appreciating long-term risk and making an informed decision to enlist.
  • Moral injury and how issues of conscience impact mental health.

Steps should be taken to improve legal procedures by which claims of harassment and bullying are investigated and incidents are reported within the military.

In order to avoid mental health risks to young soldiers, junior entry recruitment of those under 18 should end. There needs to be greater understanding about pre-enlistment risk factors for psychological ill-health such as socio-economic disadvantage and childhood adversity, and a consequent shift away from recruitment marketing that targets vulnerable groups.

Our security image

ForcesWatch are working with the Rethinking Security nework and Quakers in Britain to develop educational materials in schools on the theme of 'our security'.

12/02/2018 ForcesWatch comment

Today is the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers. Today also sees the start of a court martial of 16 instructors at Army Foundation College Harrogate which trains young recruits aged under 18. They are charged with numerous counts of bullying and abuse.

06/02/2018 ForcesWatch comment

We report on a recent meeting in Parliament with a range of speakers on the urgent need to raise the age of recruitment to the armed forces in the UK.

Written evidence submitted by ForcesWatch to the Education Committee's Alternative Provision Inquiry

This submission briefly outlines 'alternative provision with a military ethos' and details a number of concerns - relative effectiveness, targeting disadvantage, lack of consultation and lack of scrutiny.

10/01/2018 ForcesWatch comment

ForcesWatch comment on the 2018 British Army recruitment advertising campaign: We welcome any commitments and improvements the military makes to the welfare of soldiers but caution that the reality of military life is not accurately represented in this new campaign, and that the welfare of recruits into the Army should not be overlooked.

A short film from the Take Action on Militarism event


Also see the 5 minute film with speakers from the event about their work taking action on militarism.

04/12/2017 ForcesWatch comment

After hearing from the armed forces, the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee has decided they need to hear more from ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland before making decisions about our petition calling for greater guidance and scrutiny around military visits to schools.

ForcesWatch have teamed up with Quaker Peace & Social Witness to produce a resource pack to help people take action on militarism in their communities. And there is a new website to go with it where you can downlaod the pack or order a hard copy, find links to more resources etc.


11/11/2017 ForcesWatch comment

Every year, the fury levied at those who critique or refuse the red poppy obscures the complexity and spectrum of views such dissenters open up. What is lost in this explosion of vitriol and misunderstanding is the opportunity to allow us, as empathic human beings, to be open to divergent viewpoints, to think honestly about wars and to discuss their causes.

This ForcesWatch briefing analyses data on armed forces visits to schools in Scotland for 2016-17.

Main findings:

  • 770 visits were made by the armed forces to schools in Scotland between April 16 and March 17, including a small number to primary schools and special schools.
  • The Army made 58% of all visits.
  • 68% of state secondary schools are visited in one year, some many times.
  • Three-quarters (75.5%) of visits are promoting a career in the armed forces.
  • State schools are visited far more than independent schools, even taking into account that they are far larger in number.  

The briefing provides an update to our report Armed Forces Visits to Schools in Scotland

02/11/2017 ForcesWatch comment

We report from the day of talks and workshops to launch the Take Action on Militarism pack which is designed to equip and support those challenging militarism in their communities.

16/10/2017 ForcesWatch comment

Douglas Beattie reports on an important campaigning moment.

09/10/2017 ForcesWatch comment

Our article, published in Schools Week, critiques the social impact report being used by the MoD to validate the expansion of cadets in state schools.

Cadet units are not a social panacea but a recruitment tool.

07/10/2017 ForcesWatch comment

Our piece in The Morning Star about the latest announcement of more cadet units in schools and the social impact report, which is very flawed in our view, that has been published to support this.

"This is premised on the militarist narrative in which the military is the highest of institutions, a school for the nation which offers a solution to all of society’s problems. This narrative is disingenuous, flawed, and dangerous."