So, after a recent incident in which I inappropriately lost my temper with a couple of VRT officers after I found out that a Staff Cadet had been accommodated overnight, alone in a room with a fourteen year old cadet, I have decided that I think the ACO should fall into line with the SCC and ACF and bring in the staff/cadet divide at 18.
I believe this, because in the above case, the staff cadet was ordered into a potentially compromising (and, in my opinion, legally dodgy) situation, which, if an allegation had been made, they would have had to take responsibility for. They had raised concerns themselves with the VRT officer responsible and been fobbed off with the attitude of 'you're a cadet, I'm an officer, do as your told', despite them being, in the eyes of the law, a responsible adult and a person in a 'position of trust'.
I think too many people in the ACO are fixated on the staff/cadet divide and fail to see the more important adult/child divide and that sooner or later a staff cadet is going to fall spectacularly foul of this through no real fault of their own.
All of this could be avoided if we accepted the fact that someone who is old enough to vote, drink, join the armed forces, get married, make all manner of other important decisions and to require an enhanced DBS/CRB check in order to be around children, is most likely old enough to be a Civilian Instructor or Sergeant (ATC).