July 2012Published by Child Soldiers International.This report concludes that the impact of recruitment below the age of 18 opens up a number of gaps that have long term significance, not only for the armed forces but also for the young people that they recruit. At a time of considerable downsizing of the army in particular, the large gap between the cost of training minors (who cannot be deployed operationally) and adults (who can) is difficult to sustain. But perhaps the most significant cost is in the detrimental impact that the gaps identified have on the future prospects of minors recruited by our armed forces.
May 2012This ForcesWatch briefing is for parents, students and teachers concerned with military activities in their school.
May 2008Published by the Labour Government in 2008, the report made forty recommendations for 'increasing visibility', 'improving contact', 'building understanding' and 'encouraging support' for the Armed Forces.
June 2011New legislation (from 22 July 2011) which grants under 18s the right to leave after a 'cooling off' period. Prior to this, discharge of 'unhappy minors' was at the discretion of the commanding officer.
2018 update, USA“Before You Enlist!” provides a rational voice to counter the seductive and often deceptive recruiting practices of the U.S. military. The message is not “don’t enlist” but rather to provide young people and their families a more complete picture of the life-altering consequences of joining the military – especially in wartime. Latest version: 2018. This short film is from the US so many of the details about recruitment are different from the UK, but the general questions to ask 'before you enlist' are similar.
March 2011This report, published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "challenges the status quo currently surrounding the situation of young people in the UK armed forces today. It questions the ethics and legality of the restrictions on young recruits’ rights of discharge, their minimum period of service, and their exposure to the risk of hostilities. The report also makes the case for a considered review and debate on the minimum recruitment age. It highlights the evidence that not only is the experience of recruits in the 16 – 18 age bracket adversely affected by their relative lack of maturity, but that their high drop-out rate results in millions of pounds in wasted expenditure."
February 2011ForcesWatch's submission to the Armed Forces Bill committee raising concerns relating to the human rights of service personnel with the Armed Forces Bill Committee and making a number of recommendations to bring the UK into line with current international standards and improve terms of service.
AT EASE is an advice service to those in the armed forces and family members which has been running since the 1980s. It is staffed by volunteers. There is a telephone helpline or you can send an email. There is information on various terms of service issues and conscientious objection on the website.