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Bullying and the UK Armed Forces
  1. Surg Cdr Rikus H Coetzee, Royal Navy M.MedSci MRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist1,
  2. S Atkins2 and
  3. M Gould, Chartered Clinical Psychologist3
  1. 1Department of Community Mental Health, Sunny Walk PP6, HM Naval Base Portsmouth PO1 3LT 02392 726256/ 938026256 02392 726622/ 938026622 rik.coetzee734{at}
  2. 2Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces
  3. 3Department of Community Mental Health, Sunny Walk PP6, HM Naval Base Portsmouth


There are certain characteristics of the culture and environment in the Armed Forces that may be conducive to bullying. In this article we examine the cultural and environmental factors that may encourage such behaviour and those that act as deterrents for victims to come forward. We will look at the scope of this problem within the UK Armed Forces specifically, before more generally considering the psychological impact of bullying. There appears to be an overall downward trend in bullying within the UK Armed Forces and a positive increase in complaints as more victims step forward. We conclude by highlighting some areas for further development.

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