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The Royal Navy investigates allegations of abuse made by women

The head of the Royal Navy has launched an investigation into complaints of sexual harassment and bullying involving female Submarine Service personnel.

Multiple whistleblowers who served in the fleet reported being mistreated by personnel of all ranks.

The First Sea Lord, Adm Sir Ben Key, branded the allegations “repugnant” and stated that “sexual harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be condoned.”

The Royal Navy investigates allegations of abuse made by women

“Anyone found guilty will be held responsible,” he stated.

The Mail detailed the allegations, which include male crew members preparing a list of the order in which women would be molested in the case of a disaster.

One woman told the Mail that a man of higher rank sexually abused her while she slept. She asserted that a senior officer struck her in the kidney.

She claimed that someone gave her naked images of models and 50p coins in her cabin, implying she would do a sexual act in exchange.

abuse claims

Other women claimed that they were routinely requested to perform sex acts and were frequently yelled at and struck with clipboards and pens.

After a prohibition on female recruiters was repealed in 2011, it is asserted that the abuse has occurred for more than a decade.

Former Navy Rear Admiral Chris Parry stated on the BBC’s Today show that he believed the issue reflected society as a whole.

“I’m worried that some of the sexualized behavior we observe in conventional workplaces is translated to submarines, as you could imagine, and in a compact atmosphere, everything is accentuated,” he stated.

He stated that the issue demands leadership, including “zero tolerance from the top down and the bottom up” about sexual harassment allegations.

“It pertains to leadership. However, it is really difficult to live in submarines when everyone is so close together and there is no mature civilization to place individuals there.

He stated that when he commanded mixed-gender ships, he took assault allegations “extremely seriously.”


According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) website, the Submarine Service is “unseen and uncontrolled” and has “established an enduring reputation for professionalism and courage.”

Submarines of the Vanguard Class supply the UK’s nuclear deterrent as part of this service.

As of 2019, a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request revealed that only 1% of Submarine Service employees were female.

Adm Sir Ben responded to the charges by stating, “I want to reassure our sailors, and anyone reading this, that any action that falls short of the highest standards the Royal Navy sets for itself is completely unacceptable and not a real picture of what service life should be.”

“These accusations are revolting. Sexual assault and harassment are not allowed and have no place in the Royal Navy.”

The Ministry of Defense stated that while the majority of Navy personnel enjoy satisfying jobs, certain individuals, primarily females, have been affected by inappropriate sexualized behavior.

It acknowledged that more must be done to improve the experience of all staff and that reporting systems for sexual offenses are being enhanced.

Red Arrow’s charges of bullying, drunkenness, misogyny and sexual harassment surfaced in the media earlier this year.

A series of mishaps involving the premier aerial demonstration team caused the Chief of Air Staff to launch an investigation, which has yet to produce a report.

Last year, Diane Allen, a retired British Army lieutenant colonel, stated that the military needed its own “Me Too” moment, referring to the movement in which people shared their experiences of sexual harassment.

In a May 2013 interview with BBC’s Woman’s Hour, she expressed worry that “even the good people in the military feel compelled not to speak up when they witness awful behavior.”


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