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Boko Haram militants have abducted upwards of 2,000 girls in the past two years, some of whom have been forced to become child soldiers alongside abducted boys, reports the human...


The Last Ambush?: reports

Forces Watch -

This report investigates some of the main mental health effects of a career in the British armed forces during the last decade. It explores how widespread these effect are, whom they affect most, and why. It finds that harmful levels of drinking, as well as violent behaviour after deployment, are serious problems in the armed forces. Compared with the general population and with current personnel, former personnel are markedly more affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, harmful drinking, common mental disorders (types of anxiety and depression), and self-harming behaviour. Pre-enlistment adversity, exposure to warfare at close quarters, and loss of social support after leaving the forces are among the most potent risk factors. While many people in the armed forces have good mental health, some face substantially greater risks than others. The youngest recruits from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are the group most at risk.


Young age at Army enlistment is associated with greater war zone risks: An analysis of British Army fatalities in Afghanistan August 2013: report

David Gee and Anna Goodman -

Published by ForcesWatch and Child Soldiers International, August 2013

The risk of fatality in Afghanistan for recruits who enlisted into the British Army aged 16 and completed training has been twice as high as it has for those enlisting at 18 or above.

The increased risk reflects the disproportionately high number of 16 year olds who join front-line Infantry roles. This is the result of recruitment policies which drive young people with limited academic qualifications into the Army’s most dangerous roles. Those who enlist at 16 are effectively barred from entering many of the less risky support or technical roles due to lack of qualifications. Another probable contributing factor is the longer average career length of 16 year old recruits who successfully complete training, leading to more tours of duty in Afghanistan when compared with adult recruits.


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