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Armed Forces (Domestic Violence)

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to apply the proposals in the "Justice for All" White Paper to domestic violence in the armed forces. [113036]

The Ministry of Defence is given to understand that the Domestic Violence Unit at the Home Office is to issue a consultation paper arising from the "Justice for All" White Paper as part of a cross cutting review and I can confirm that the Ministry of Defence will participate in the consultation process. Any subsequent changes to laws applying to incidents of domestic violence would apply to the service community in the same way as to other sections of the population.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance he has given to the armed forces on the reporting of domestic violence; and what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the content of such guidance. [113037]

The Ministry of Defence's latest guidance on the reporting of incidents of domestic violence within the Armed Forces was published in a "Defence Council Instruction" on 1 February 2002 and is being incorporated into appropriate single-service regulations. The policy takes account of Home Office directives on the subject and with the underlying principle that domestic violence by Service personnel is not to be tolerated under any circumstances. MOD Ministers have not had cause to discuss this policy with other ministerial colleagues.