Friendship Boundries

As I’ve been doing some research I’ve seen it been made very clear about the boundaries of romantic relationships in cadets. But I’m just checking up on friends before it’s too late and before I could get in trouble.

How many years is acceptable between two cadet being friends? As currently I am 17 and said other cadet is 15. So when I’m 18 he’ll be 16. As when I become a staff cadet am I going to have to cease all contact with him except over email or something?

If you want the exact wording then ACP 4 is what you want to read. Long story short though is once you are over 18 you are an adult and can’t be in a relationship with a child (anyone under 18) as far as the RAFAC is concerned.

3 years is a long time to worry about in the future. Lots of people stay friends for many years after leaving cadets and it’s common for cadets to still be friends with and socialise with staff who they were cadets with.

It’s about managing that relationship when on unit or working as a staff member to make sure it’s not abused by either party.

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What the book says and what happens in practice is (rightly) different.

Any genuine safeguarding concerns will not be ignored. However, being friends with someone 2 years younger than you is unlikely to be an issue. Keep it low key, though. As @JoeBloggs says, the rules say once you’re 18 you shouldn’t be socialising with under 18s (same applies when you hit 20 with staff cadets and cadets).

I’ve already missed my chance at this, so I may have to tone the friendliness down a bit and keep it out of cadets. But thanks for the heads up.

Is it possible for me as a cadet to access ACP4? As I’ve gone onto cadet portal and it’s not there.

The bit that relates to what you’ve asked is covered here:

Inappropriate Relationships between 18+ Staff Cadets and Younger Cadets

  1. Cadets who reach 18 years of age, although still cadets, are adults in the eyes of the law and are deemed to be in positions of trust over younger cadets (similar to members of staff). It is therefore particularly important that all cadets aged 18 or over (Staff Cadets) are aware of the implications of any potential for inappropriate relationships with younger cadets. A sexual relationship with a child under the age of 16 is a criminal offence4 and such a relationship is therefore forbidden. A sexual relationship between a Staff Cadet and a cadet of 16 or 17 years of age is a contravention of ACP1 and of the guidelines contained in this publication (Chapter 2, paragraphs 10-12) when a Staff Cadet is considered to be in a position of trust over the younger cadet and is therefore forbidden.

Relationships between Cadets

  1. Relationships between cadets occur and the RAFAC has no wish to inhibit free association, especially if such relationships do not affect discipline nor impact on the efficiency or effectiveness of the sqn or where there are no other child protection issues. However, the following may be considered to be inappropriate during RAFAC activities:

.close and exclusive emotional relationships involving public displays of affection or intimacy, including sexual relations when on RAFAC activities or premises, and,

· a relationship that involves, or gives the appearance of involving, partiality, preferential treatment or improper use of rank or appointment.

  1. This guidance is not intended to inhibit friendships, camaraderie or teamwork (with no sexual connotation).

Perfect then, the only thing that would have to change is keep are hugging off squadron. (I am aware hugging is a COVID and non - COVID issue)

I think you can access ACP 4 via Cadet Portal. If not you’ll be able to view it before you turn 18.

It’s not as simple as the above quote sadly. It still prohibits you being friends on Facebook, messaging about non-cadet related activities, meeting outside cadet activities etc. For all intents and purposes, the RAFAC prohibit friendships between over 18s and under 18s, and over 20s and under 20s.

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From what I’ve heard, as long as you’re friends before I turn 18 then it’s okay.

So basically the friendship has to be put on hold for a couple years while we both become legally equal.

Not true by the book, however in practice it would likely be overlooked

It is deemed inappropriate for permanent staff, staff cadets or CFAVs to be ‘friends’ on Facebook or other sites with cadets under the age of 18, except when related to them (see Reference A for further details)

Yes, but this isn’t a legal issue it’s a RAFAC issue.

You have be be realistic…if you turn 18 and all your friends on squadron don’t turn 18 for another few months then you aren’t going to unfriend them all on social media and stop talking to them.

Just keep in mind your position as a Staff Cadet and what that means on squadron.

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Yeah, it is a very weird one to be honest. The rules are clear on ‘relationships’ but friendships is a bit vague. They aren’t going to stop you being friends, it just can’t effect what goes on at cadets. That’s the line most sensible people take.

So is this another, it’s down to your OC to decide what’s okay and not okay?

When the time comes a chat with your OC would probably be recommended but ultimately anything off squadron would be for you to decide if it’s appropriate.

In my mind, us going Go-Karting and to theme parks doesn’t seem inappropriate. But as we’ve been friends since I was 14 and he was 12 I doubt he’s suddenly going to report me to HQATC.

99% of the time it’ll be fine. But there’s always the possibility the RAFAC will throw the (poorly thought out) book at you.

If they are sqn staff then you’re probably right. If they are HQAC then:

Meetings with cadets [by CFAVs and adult cadets] outside of RAFAC activities should not take place without the agreement of superior officers and parents or carers

I’ll make sure to get a TG21 form off him when I’m staff Cadet then, problem solved.

He may not, but someone without the whole story may and that’s when the fun starts :roll_eyes:


Yeah not gonna cut it I’m afraid