Royal Navy investigates after women come forward with abuse claimson October 29, 2022 at 2:20 am

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The head of the Royal Navy issues a statement saying he is disturbed by the “abhorrent” accusations.

HMS Astute, a Royal Navy Astute class nuclear attack submarineImage source, PA Media

The head of the Royal Navy has ordered an investigation into allegations of bullying and sexual harassment against women in the Submarine Service.

Several whistleblowers who served in the fleet told the Daily Mail they faced mistreatment from all ranks.

Adm Sir Ben Kay, the First Sea Lord, said he was deeply disturbed by the “abhorrent” claims.

The behaviour has no place in the Royal Navy and anyone found culpable would be held accountable, he said.

The allegations, revealed in detail by the Mail, include male crew members compiling a list setting out the order in which women would be assaulted in the event of a catastrophic event.

One woman told the Mail she was sexually assaulted by a man of a higher rank as she slept. She claimed one senior officer punched her in the kidney.

She alleged that another left naked pictures of models for her and posted 50p coins into her cabin, suggesting she would perform a sexual act in return.

Other women alleged they were frequently asked to perform sex acts and were often screamed at and hit with clipboards and pens.

It is claimed the abuse has been happening for more than a decade, after a ban on female recruits was lifted in 2011.

‘Unacceptable’

The Submarine Service is “unseen and unhindered,” according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) website, which says it has “built an enduring reputation for professionalism and courage”.

The service includes the Vanguard Class submarines that provide the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Responding to the allegations, Sir Ben said: “I want to reassure our people, and anyone who is reading this, that any activity which falls short of the highest of standards the Royal Navy sets itself is totally unacceptable and not a true reflection of what service life should be.

“These allegations are abhorrent. Sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be tolerated.”

The MoD said that while most Navy staff enjoy rewarding careers, some navy personnel, predominantly women, have been affected by inappropriate sexualised behaviour.

It said it accepted more needs to be done to improve the experience of all personnel and mechanisms for reporting sexual offences were being improved.

Earlier this year, media reports emerged detailing allegations of bullying, drinking, misogyny and sexual harassment in the Red Arrows..

A series of incidents within the flagship aerial display team prompted the Chief of the Air Staff to order an inquiry, which has yet to report.

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