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More men opt for social care over guns

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More men opt for social care over guns
File photo: APA/Gindl
11:49 CET+01:00
The number of men opting to do civil service rather than military service reached a record high in Austria in 2014.

There were almost 17,000 applications for civil service in 2014, according to a report in Die Presse newspaper, which equates to almost 40 percent of able-bodied men who are eligible for military service.

Austria has a mandatory six month period of basic recruit training for all able-bodied male citizens aged between 18 and 35. Conscientious objectors can choose to do civil service for nine months.

A referendum in 2013 rejected a proposal that would have ended conscription and required Austria to switch to a professional army.

In 1975, when military service was introduced, only 344 men opted for community service.

Around 43 percent of men who did civil service last year worked with the Red Cross, the Samaritans or the ambulance service. 32 percent worked for organisations that help disabled or socially disadvantaged people and around ten percent worked with the elderly.

Over the past 20 years civil service has gained more recognition in Austria, with some men gaining qualifications after completing civil service.

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