Teenager Jaysley Beck died after a relentless campaign of sexual harassment

04th Oct 2023

The BBC has today reported the case of 19-year old Gnr Jaysley Beck who died after months of controlling, sexual harassment from her boss.  She died in December 2021.  In the October before she died, her boss sent her more than 1000 messages; and in the November, more than 3500.

In the July before she died, she had also been sexually assaulted by a Warrant Officer while on exercises. This was reported up the chain of command but not referred to the police. There appears to have been no meaningful investigation of any description, internal or external, and the perpetrator wrote her a letter of apology, saying his ‘door will always be open’.

The Army’s Service Inquiry report – which is the product of an internal review conducted by the Army into the case – will be published by the MoD today, 4 October at 12 noon, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/service-inquiry-si

CMJ is supporting the family and Emma Norton is the family solicitor.

You can read the full BBC article here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-66982160

Emma Norton, the family’s solicitor, said:

‘Jaysley told her family that she had been subjected not only to a sexual assault that resulted in no meaningful action being taken against the perpetrator, but also a sustained campaign of controlling, pernicious sexual harassment in the months before she died from her boss. In both cases the perpetrators were significantly senior to her in both rank and age.

What is particularly striking is the finding that the Army’s poor handling of the sexual assault allegation may have influenced how Jaysley felt able to deal with the later sexual harassment. As her Mum has said, she did not want to be seen as a ’female troublemaker’, especially after the Army did so little with the sexual assault allegation. It looks like Jaysley was not alone – the report also describes other female witnesses to the inquiry revealing widespread unacceptable sexist behaviours directed towards them, that one young woman described as ‘vile’ and ‘degrading’.

It is hugely significant that the Army has admitted that this sexual harassment was a causative factor in her death. If there is one silver lining in this awful situation it is the fact that the Army has accepted that at this relatively early stage. I don’t think that would have happened a few years ago. The Army still has a systemic problem with misogyny and sexism. It’s taking steps to address this but they don’t go nearly far enough. Two recent independent reviews (Wigston and the Defence Committee Inquiry into Women in the Armed Forces) have recommended that the handling of serious sexual harassment and bullying cases must be taken away from the single services themselves and given to an independent (or semi independent) body. And that sexual assault investigations should be handled by civilian police. Time after time the MoD rejects these calls.  So when the MoD today tells you that it has a zero tolerance for sexual harassment or assault, it is important to bear that in mind.  It seems they are only prepared to go so far.’

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