Addressing the knowledge gap: sexual violence and harassment in the UK Armed Forces

September, 2017

Sexual violence in the military is increasingly seen in the media, from online news to TV documentaries. Despite this there is very little published research available in the UK that can tell us how many service personnel and veterans are affected. This paper discusses the statistics that are available in the UK, and the potential reasons for the lack of focus and research in this area. We suggest that a programme of research is needed in the UK to explore this issue and the impact it has on individuals and the military organisation.


Despite media interest in alleged sexual violence and harassment in the UK military, there remains a paucity of UK-based peer-reviewed research in this area. Ministry of Defence and service-specific reports support the suggestion that UK service personnel may be at risk of experiencing sexual harassment. These reports however highlight a reluctance by service personnel to report sexual harassment through official channels. In this article, we discuss the paucity of UK-based research pertaining to the prevalence and impact of sexual harassment in the military, explore potential reasons for this gap in knowledge and outline future directions and priorities for academic research.

Full Reference

Godier LR, Fossey M. Addressing the knowledge gap: sexual violence and harassment in the UK Armed Forces. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps Published Online First: 06 September 2017. doi: 10.1136/jramc-2017-000810

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