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[edit]


  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

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