Dozens of teenagers serving in the armed forces claim to have been sexually assaulted by comrades or instructors, defense chiefs have revealed.
Almost half of them were trained at an army school, which was attended by school leavers aged 16.
Official statistics suggest that one in ten teenage girls in the services say they have been sexually assaulted.
The numbers came just a year after a report by MPs accusing senior military officials of covering up rape and abuse to protect their careers.
An investigation by the Commons Defense Committee, which collected evidence from 4,200 people, concluded that women military personnel were abandoned by senior officers.
New figures released by ministers show that 47 recruits under the age of 18 have said they have been raped or sexually assaulted in the past year.
The revelation was called “shocking and gruesome” by a former military intelligence officer, who said they had “demonstrated failure of command”.
Armed Forces Secretary Leo Docherty told MPs: “Of the 47 victims in those statistics, 37 were female and of those cases, one has been proven, four are ongoing and 11 have been turned over to civilian police.”
22 of the applicants were working at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire at the time of the offence.
According to the latest figures, 290 girls under the age of 18 served in the armed forces during the attacks.
Colonel Philip Ingram, a former army commander and NATO planner, said: “These statistics are shocking whichever way you look at them.
“They highlight the most fundamental errors of command at various levels, and yet it takes a parliamentary inquiry to bring to light the information provided by the very minister who keeps saying the Department of Defense is making great strides in addressing improper behavior .
“It is clear that he is either lying or being lied to in his briefings and the result is lifelong trauma inflicted on the victims, some of whom are still children. Until the defense receives some form of independent oversight, they will continue to cover up what can only be described as atrocious acts.”
A Defense Ministry spokesman said: “Sexual assault or harassment has no place in the armed forces and all allegations are taken seriously and investigated by the service police.
“We continue to improve reporting mechanisms so employees feel safe reporting issues and confident that allegations are being acted upon.
“These include establishing a victim and witness care unit, ensuring complaints of bullying, harassment or discrimination are handled outside the chain of command, and strengthening the leverage available to release someone who has committed a sex offense. “
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5994401/defence-chief-reveals-teens-army-sexually-assulated/ Dozens of teenagers serving in the armed forces ‘sexually assaulted by comrades or instructors’