The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and defence secretary John Reid have signed an agreement to confront sexual harassment in the armed forces.
The MoD’s agreement with the EOC is based on an action plan which outlines the MOD’s commitment to tackle sexual harassment.
The plan includes:
fresh surveys and discussion groups with servicemen and women to understand fully the instances of sexual harassment and identify the most effective measures to prevent it
changes to ensure the armed forces’ complaints procedure is fair, objective and confidential, and seen to be so
increasing awareness of sexual harassment and how it can damage operational effectiveness.
Reid said bullying and harassment could not be tolerated and had no place in the forces.
“In the armed forces we strive to create an environment in which every individual can realise their potential – this means treating all our personnel with respect and valuing the distinct contribution of every man and woman,” he said.
“A great deal of work has been done to get our diversity and equality policies right, but we recognise that sexual harassment still exists in the armed forces and more needs to be done to embed our policies into service culture at every level.”