Sexual offences committed by members of the Armed Forces: Is the service justice system fit for purpose?
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 20:25 authored by Charlotte Herriott, Abigail Wood, Nicola Gillin, Matt Fossey, Lauren R. Godier-McBard
Recent policy reviews, academic research and high-profile media critiques have repeatedly emphasised the UK military as a hypermasculine culture, seemingly permissive of sexual violence, marked by high prevalence of sexual offences and an inadequate justice response. The service justice system (SJS) has been characterised by low conviction rates and poor treatment of victim-survivors of sexual offences, prompting recommendation that rape should be tried in the civilian criminal justice system (CJS) rather than SJS. Despite notable debate on this matter, the MOD ultimately rejected this recommendation in December 2021 and instead committed to implementing clear and meaningful change within the SJS response to sexual offences. In light of this decision, this paper interrogates available data about the current SJS response to sexual offending, and lessons that may be learnt from the civilian CJS, to highlight current obstacles to justice and outline areas in which further research and scrutiny is necessary.
Publication titleCriminology and Criminal Justice
- Accepted version