The RAF is investigating a video in which troops reportedly appeared to sexually assault an airman in an initiation ritual.
A spokeswoman for the force said the RAF police special investigation branch was looking into the incident after the footage was obtained by the Daily Mail.
The newspaper said the video showed a naked airman being held down by drunken troops before they allegedly assaulted him.
Sources state that the attack took place at RAF Honnington, Suffolk. The squadron has not been named.
An RAF spokeswoman said: “We have been made aware of an offensive video involving Royal Air Force personnel. The RAF police special investigation branch is now investigating the incident shown in the video. It would be inappropriate to comment further while investigations are ongoing.”
The RAF said it did not tolerate bullying or initiation ceremonies, and that anyone not maintaining such standards would be investigated, with appropriate disciplinary action taken.
The 75 second video appears to suggest that drunken initiation ceremonies for junior personnel continue even though they are rarer than before.
Ministry of Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace confirmed senior officers from the regiment had been suspended following the leaked footage.
In the last 5 years there has been increasing numbers of military personnel courageously speaking out about barbaric initiations, abuse, and assaults.
In July 2020, the Ministry of Defence, under Ben Wallace launched an anti-bullying 24.7 telephone helpline for service personnel across the Army, Royal Navy, and RAF to allow troops to report any abuse or harassment. It is staffed by qualified counsellors who provide emotional support, information, and guidance to callers.
In 2015, Andrew Donaldson, a Royal Navy Sailor was jailed for five years and made to sign the sex offenders register after he sexually assaulted a young recruit whilst he was drunk as a “prank”.
In 2016 Army private, Oliver Scudder launched legal action against the Ministry of Defence after his military career was prematurely ended due to injuries sustained in a violent initiation ceremony. He was left with 90% loss of vision in his right eye and medically discharged from the Army after he was booted in the face whilst on the ground.
In the same year, three Royal Marines were sentenced to military detention after an initiation ceremony subjected a colleague to “40 minutes of depravity and naked humiliation.”
In 2019, a Freedom of Information request revealed that at least 122 Army instructors had been court-martialled or disciplined in the four years prior for abuse of recruits and other misconduct.
Farleys has represented many victims who have been abused whilst pursuing their career within the military. Although the military have their own judicial processes, sexual and physical assaults are still covered by common law. Farleys understands that any victim of such degrading abuse could take many years to disclose and report the incidents. Whilst we realise that this will never rectify past events, pursuing a compensation claim can often help to ensure that our clients finally bring a sense of closure to their ordeals and provide valuable resources to fund medical treatment going forward.
If you or someone you know has been affected by abuse at the hands of military personnel, we would welcome hearing from you. We appreciate that it is often difficult to talk about what has happened and our team of compassionate solicitors are available to support you through this traumatic period. Call our dedicated abuse line on 0330 134 6430 or contact us by email.