Cadet Relationships

Greetings everyone,

Now I have myself in a slight predicament. I myself am a 17 year old SNCO. I have recently started a relationship with one of my Corporals we’ve been together for a few months.She is in fact two years younger than myself. I have gone through the Air Cadet policies in regards to whether or not this is acceptable in the ACO. I have come back with the answer that it’s fine as long as it doesn’t impact your role at the squadron. Along with this is that it’s at the OC’s discretion to whether or not it is allowed.

My Squadron Staff are unaware of this relationship and I intend to keep it as such, unless another NCO happens to mention anything. I have not changed how I behave on Squadron with her and treat her the same as other NCOs. However, I just wish for outside feedback on this issue.

Kind regards,

My sources are from ACP 4, child protection. I’d list more specific information, but quite frankly I cannot remember where abouts this is.

I should also make the point that this happened outside of cadets. Therefore it isn’t known by more than a few trusted friends outside of the corps.

Only start to get worked up in 3 years time if you become staff… until then just keep doing your own thing and don’t be letting any issues in you relationship spill into cadets

I think you could potentially hit uninformed drama next year when you’re 18 and she’s 16. But that will more likely be from people who have way too much time on their hands.

Remember the 11th Commandment. Don’t get caught…

No issues at all while you are 17, things change a bit when you hit 18 though. Basically the ACO will tolerate the relationship if the parents of the younger cadet are aware and consent to it. If your OC feels it is having an adverse affect on the unit or they have any concerns they may ask one of you to transfer. In my experience as long as you are discrete about it then there should be no problems.


Unless you feel you are doing something wrong, just get on with YOUR life it and don’t worry about what others think.

Your CO unless one of your parents or the other parties parents, they cannot dictate what you do outside the organisation.

It doesn’t matter what your status in the ATC is falling in love, being attracted to another ignores all boundaries.

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Yet again Teflon gives bad advice. House rules are that. Follow them or reassess your life options.

Rule one in these situations common sense is king and the rules for guidance. Most teen relationships last a few months at best.

As for monitoring relationships between cadets, I have trouble keeping up with our own kids, although not as changeable as once they were, so worrying which cadets are seeing each other is down the list. If it gets nasty at the sqn when there is a break up, that’s a discip problem and can be sorted that way.

Our daughters had boyfriends who 2-3 years older and our son had similar age differences with a couple of younger girlfriends and all that happened was the mum/dad chat.

There’s a difference between you monitoring things and this lads question. He is being honest and upfront, qualities which should be encouraged. Your recommending he be deceitfull.

No. What business is it of anyone’s? They’re contemporary ages.

I wouldn’t ask or be expected to be told.

Strictly speaking there may be some issues at 17/15, as (depending on what they happen to get up to behind closed doors) it may well technically be illegal. However, given the two-year age gap the police generally won’t be interested so long as everything is happy and consensual.

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I can’t see the problem personally of a two year gap at any point. There’s 12 years between my mum and dad. Yes I know the ATC would get excited about a 20 yo and 18yo.
If it was a big problem schools (especially now where many have 6th Forms) would have police permanently attached.

The issue isn’t the gap. It’s the non consensual age of a 15 year old

That depends on how they are spending their alone time.

We’re not misinformed. We’re well aware of the law around sexual acts. I’d prefer not to have a prison sentence over my head for breaking the law. Nothing like that has happened in our ‘alone time.’

Thank you for all of your replies. I just wanted more information on this topic as there seems to be a lack of such information available to myself. I will take onboard all of your suggestions and will continue as it has been. We’re not stupid we d wish to keep it quiet as long as possible due to obvious statements about favouritism by other cadets. Along with this to avoid unnecessary drama. Thanks.

This topic will be covered in more detail prior to your 18th Birthday during your BASIC course if you plan to stay in past 18 as a Staff Cadet.


Why do we get hung up on this notion of favouritism?

Favouritism and anti-favouritism is not an alien concept to youngsters they are subjected to it in school almost from day one, so why it becomes such a problem in the ATC is baffling.
In school, teachers very quickly identify kids who they treat better than others and all based on how well they perform in their lessons/subjects or if they do after school clubs.

You see it in the ATC all the time where staff shamelessly displays favourites (some of which is Savillesque in cringe worthy stakes) and anti-favouritism and no one bats an eyelid and yet a cadet NCO displays some level of favouritism to a mate, boy/girl friend or anti-favouritism and it’s wrong. I think there are a lot of staff who need to reassess the way they are around staff. You can spot the favourites of staff as they are referred to by nicknames or at the least Christian name and spoken about in an almost eugolistic manner, can do no wrong and given much adulation and prizes there are the other side who are almost ignored.

I know what you mean about staff behaviours, but how would we ever get any new staff from cadets if the ‘old’ staff didn’t fall over themselves around them.
The staff and cadets know who my favourite is … me. Cadets are cadets and will leave or stay of their own accord, I haven’t got the time or inclination to be “nice” to any of them. It is sickening the way some staff act around cadets.

A 15 year old has the legal capacity to give consent, though they have not yet reached “legal age”. A 12 year old does not. Not teaching you to suck eggs, but you seem to be tippy-toeing round the concepts and differences between underage sex and statutory rape.

Why the assumption of a physical relationship anyway?

One of the areas of concern is the phrase "may be deemed t be in a position of trust over younger cadets"
Deemed by who?

“Position of Trust” is a tightly-defined legal concept that applies in legislation exclusively to teachers and social workers (unless this has widened) and does not apply to cadets or CFAVs. It is to our advantage that we consider CFAVs to be in a position of trust as a general guidance to how we behave but that can have undesired repercussions when we use that volunteered status to define the legality of extant relationships as one party trips over the 18 or Staff threshold.

Why is the automatic assumption that the relationship is any more than platonic / bog standard teen relationship.
This sort thinking is that of sordid, smutty small mindedness and not some overarching illusion of caring.

Based on our kids they were far more aware of everything than we were when we were teenagers. They could get contraception from teachers after a chat, when we had to rely on going to shops out of your local area They’d had sex and relationship education from about 7/8. I would say that teenagers at 13/14 are now better placed to understand the implications of an adult relationship than many of us would ever give them credit for.

Really? I certainly would.

I may have cadets whom I think highly of (and some whom I think less highly of) but if I do so it’s largely because of their performance as cadets. Obviously some are more likeable than others but I generally try and avoid letting that cloud my judgement as far as possible.

I’d expect my cadet NCOs to do the same. If they’re in a relationship with someone, it’s clearly near-impossible to be impartial (and to keep the perception that they’re being impartial, which is also important) - I’d generally try and keep them out each other’s chain of command.

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