The Ministry of Defence has announced a series of measures to tackle “unacceptable levels” of bullying and discrimination in the armed forces.
These include setting up a 24-hour helpline staffed by counsellors outside the chain of command.
Personnel will also undergo training to ensure they have the confidence to challenge inappropriate behaviour.
Britain’s most senior military officer said “laddish behaviour” had to be stamped out.
General Sir Nick Carter said it was driving out talented female and ethnic minority personnel as he told MPs this week the culture within the armed forces was worrying and said things had to move much faster.
Figures published by the independent Service Complaints Ombudsman show that women and black, Asian and other ethnic minority ethnic (BAME) personnel are more likely to complain about bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Last year, 23% of complaints about discrimination were made by women even though they make up just 12% of the regular armed forces.
BAME personnel also made a disproportionate number of complaints. They make up 8% of the regular armed forces but lodged 11% of complaints about bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has criticised the ‘lack of diversity’ in the military highlighting that only 3 of the top 150 officers were women.
“There is simply no place for bullying or harassment in our armed forces and I am determined to stamp this out.
Our anti-bullying helpline is an important next step and I will continue to seek the change in behaviour we need to see across defence.”
Defence minister Johnny Mercer said the helpline is intended to “allow personnel to report incidents in a safe and secure environment.”
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