Bullying in the military

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In 2000, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) defined bullying as: “...the use of physical strength or the abuse of authority to intimidate or victimise others, or to give unlawful punishments.”[1] A review of a number of deaths, supposedly by suicide, at Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut by Nicholas Blake QC indicated that whilst a bullying culture existed during the mid to late 1990s many of the issues were being addressed as a result of the Defence Training Review.[2]

Some argue that this behaviour should be allowed because of a general academic consensus that "soldiering" is different from other occupations. Soldiers expected to risk their lives should, according to them, develop strength of body and spirit to accept bullying.[3]

In some countries, ritual hazing among recruits has been tolerated and even lauded as a rite of passage that builds character and toughness; while in others, systematic bullying of lower-ranking, young or physically slight recruits may in fact be encouraged by military policy, either tacitly or overtly (see dedovshchina). Also, the Russian army usually have older/more experienced candidates abusing – kicking or punching – less experienced soldiers.[4]

See also


  1. The Values and Standards of the British Army – A Guide to Soldiers, Ministry of Defence, UK March 2000, paragraph 23.
  2. Deepcut Review accessed 14 January 2007
  3. Social Psychology of the Individual Soldier, Jean M. Callaghan and Franz Kernic 2003 Armed Forces and International Security: Global Trends and Issues, Lit Verlag, Munster
  4. Military bullying a global problem, BBC News, UK Monday, 28 November 2005

External links