Sexual abuse of LGBTQ+ service personnel

Support and research must be made a priority in tackling the “hidden and under-reported” issue of sexual abuse of LGBTQ+ service personnel in the Armed Forces, a groundbreaking new report has concluded.

The Exit Wounds report has identified the scale of LGBTQ+ survivors in the Armed Forces and the trauma that they faced during their time in service, and continue to face in living their lives outside of the military as a result of Military Sexual Assault (MSA).

Through research with survivors, veterans’ support charity Forward Assist has shone new light on the psychological trauma from experiences at the hands of colleagues in the military – an institution where, prior to 2000, serving members of the LGBT community could be expelled on the basis of their sexuality.

Commenting on the report, Hilary Meredith-Beckham, founder of Hilary Meredith Solicitors and Visiting Professor of Law and Veterans’ Affairs at the University of Chester said:

“Assault in any workplace just should not happen.

“The archaic traditions in the military need to be completely overhauled and dragged into the 21st century.

“There needs to be a clear and safe line of communication for assistance, with reported issues thoroughly investigated and taken seriously.

“If this was happening in civilian employment there would be significant repercussions and criminal charges. The military should lead by example by upholding the law with strict guidelines in place to ensure an equally safe environment for all who join the armed forces.”