DOMESTIC abuse involving members of the armed forces has doubled in the past four years, official figures reveal.
Military chiefs admit the alarming rise mostly involves troops returning traumatised from combat operations.
Official figures show 30 had a record of domestic violence noted on their service records in the first four months of this year.
That compares with 15 who were “sanctioned” for abusing a wife or partner in 2015.
Sources say the true number is far higher as these are cases severe enough for the incident to be put on their files.
One in eight soldiers has been involved in a violent attack after returning from combat operations, according to research. The victims of the attacks were often the partners of soldiers.
Domestic abuse is now regarded as a major problem within the armed forces and defence chiefs have previously warned of the looming dangers posed by troops traumatised by the effects of combat.
Labour MP Kevan Jones, a former armed forces minister, said: “The MoD needs to recognise the vital role Armed forces families make to our defence effort and put in place urgently the support that is needed.’’
It’s not un-macho to… say ‘I need help’
Ex-Army chief Lord Dannatt
Ex-Army chief Lord Dannatt added: “The whole issue of psychiatric injury, which in its extreme form expresses itself in PTSD, is going to be expressed in domestic violence.
“The scale needs to be quantified and more action needs to be taken..
“Cultural change needs to be encouraged. It needs to be driven from the top down, but also from the bottom up so servicemen realise it’s not un-macho to put their hands up – in private – and say ‘I need help’.”
Last month a report into the death of Alice Ruggles, 24, murdered by a former special forces soldier found that both the Army and the police could have done more to prevent her death.
Alice was stabbed to death by Trimaan Dhillon, her ex-boyfriend, in October 2016. Dhillon, who had trained with the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, had a history of abusing ex-partners.
Her sister, Emma, a serving soldier, said she was frustrated by the army’s response to the murder.
She said she had had no contact from Dhillon’s unit, no response to questions she asked of the military police, and no sense that lessons had been learned.
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She could not believe the army was unaware of Dhillon’s history of offending against ex-partners, because he was serving at the time of the incidents.
An MOD spokesman said: “We expect very high standards of behaviour of our personnel, whether they are on or off duty, and we are committed to tacking domestic abuse.
“Last year, we launched a strategy to help prevent domestic abuse in all its forms. This includes prevention of abuse in the home and providing support to the families of service personnel who may be affected.”
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