Soldiers and officers serving in the British Army are to receive sexual consent training in an attempt to tackle inappropriate behaviour towards women, after defence secretary Ben Wallace met with senior generals on the Army Board yesterday.
The move follows a report in the summer by the defence select committee into the mistreatment of women in the military as well as press reports into the behaviour of personnel at Sandhurst military academy and soldiers’ role in murder of a Kenyan woman in 2012.
Wallace and General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, chief of the general staff, said they had a “full and frank discussion”.
According to a report in The Times, Gen Carleton-Smith wants the training to be mandatory. The Royal Military Police will deliver sexual consent training for recruits, including at Sandhurst, to ensure they are “under no illusion of what is unacceptable”.
The defence committee’s report published in July 2021 found that in a survey of 4,000 female service personnel and veterans nearly 62% had suffered bullying, harassment and discrimination. One in nine (11%) female personnel said they experienced sexual harassment in the service in the past 12 months.
The first part of the training will concern sexual offences and consent, while a second part will deal with “indecent and extreme images”, revenge porn and voyeurism.
In a joint statement Wallace and Gen Carleton-Smith said: “The British Army is only as good as the people who serve in it and the leadership exhibited by officers and senior non-commissioned officers. Recent events have brought to light important issues that require all our people to play their part in resolving. We agreed that together we will address these core and cultural issues.”