Numerous calls have been received since the launch of the Samaritan-style service in 2020. The confidential line is intended to provide orientation and point them to aid organizations
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Nearly a thousand soldiers have reported MoD to a Department of Defense hotline – but the advice for some victims has been branded pointless.
Numerous calls have been received since the launch of the Samaritan-style service in 2020.
However, sources say there have been complaints from caregivers telling callers to take their case to their commanding officer, who may have turned it down in the first place.
The confidential line is intended to provide orientation and point them to support organisations.
Tonight Col Philip Ingram, a former military intelligence officer, said: “It is shocking that the hotline is advising individuals to go to the chain of command. I’ve seen dozens try to use chain of command just to cover up problems and get the victim to stop taking complaints.
“What the defense lacks is an independent mechanism for handling issues. Either people are the most important asset on defense or they aren’t — and in my experience, they aren’t.”
The hotline was set up following Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston’s 2019 review of the conduct of the armed forces. Troops can report incidents anonymously. Sources said nearly 1,000 dialed in.
Johnny Mercer, then Secretary of Defense, said: “By staffing the hotline with trained advisers and advisers outside the chain of command, we will ensure that concerns are dealt with quickly and professionally.”
A Department of Defense spokesman said, “Our hotline has helped hundreds of people find support and allows staff to speak to professional advisors 24/7 for emotional support, information and guidance.”
Victim told to ‘roll with punches’
One officer said the hotline advised her to report bullying to the CO, who had to tell her to “roll the punches.”
The graduate says she faced sexual harassment when she joined the Royal Logistics Corps in Sandhurst aged 23.
“I was told that my duties were to make tea,” she said. “A warrant officer called me a lesbian. Again and again there were sexist statements. I complained to the CO. He said he would take care of it. Nothing was done so I called the hotline and was told to speak to my chain of command. I said the problem is my chain of command.
“After two years, I was transferred to a unit that treats women better, but sexism is an integral part of army culture.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/almost-1000-soldiers-call-bullying-27146543 Nearly 1,000 soldiers are calling the bullying hotline - but some are being told to contact superiors