Historic Sexual Abuse Audit


There is the law and there are rules. If 21 yr old has sex with 16 yr old, that is not against the law; but it is against the RAFAC rules, which ‘everyone’ has now signed under the VA.


Interesting comment that, and this should be true not just for CP matters, but again one might have reservations that this is actually the case. And then there appears to be a lot of faith in the ability to take wrongful accusations to court. Is the RAFAC prepared to defend anyone in that predicament, or does it depend on rank ? Might it be easier to remove the innocent party and reduce the paperwork?.

Wrongful accusations and then a failure on the part of the organisation to support the ‘volunteer’ can have as traumatic effect on an innocent party, as might be experienced by any victim of abuse.


Not just defend but bear the costs of such a case.


If you align an organisation’s CP rules with the law, there is no confusion or wriggle room.
At the moment we have a very strange mix, such as said you can be entirely within the law and not the ‘club’ rules and find yourself in what is inconsequential trouble. Whereas if the rules aligned with laws it is crystal clear and no one escapes the noose.


This is from behind the Times paywall about the Oxfam scandel, paralle’s much.

A second safeguarding chief has left Oxfam in less than a year, shortly before the publication of a report on the charity’s cover up of sexual misconduct in Haiti, The Times has learnt.

Sian Thomas, an experienced child protection expert, left the charity after she became disillusioned over its approach to safeguarding issues, sources claimed. It is understood that Ms Thomas had declined requests to apply for a newly created role of director of safeguarding.

Last night she denied that she was disillusioned with the charity and attributed her move to a career choice.

Her departure comes as the Charity Commission is finalising the report of a statutory inquiry into the Haiti case, which was exposed by The Times last year, and the results of an independent review into Oxfam’s handling of safeguarding incidents over several years.

Ms Thomas took over the safeguarding role after Hannah Clare left Oxfam in early February last year. Ms Clare had campaigned for safeguarding to be given a higher priority in the humanitarian organisation and for more resources for her small team, which was trying to record and investigate cases from around the world.

Speaking at a conference in Geneva in March, Ms Clare said that she felt Oxfam had been “defensive” when faced with criticism over sexual misconduct cases and that her team and her work “felt under-prioritised”.

Ms Clare had succeeded Helen Evans, who resigned from Oxfam in 2015 and reported her concerns about the charity’s approach to safeguarding to the charity regulator and the Department for International Development.

Ms Evans had complained that she was denied the resources to tackle a surge in reported sexual exploitation cases, including a number of concerning incidents in charity shops on British high streets. She told a select committee inquiry that she felt the number of cases being reported to her was “the tip of the iceberg”. Ms Evans also said a meeting with Oxfam’s senior management team to discuss a surge in safeguarding cases was cancelled without explanation.

She now campaigns for reform across the aid sector and has called for charities to be required to make an annual report of safeguarding incidents.

This week an independent commission reported how a “toxic work environment” had developed in many Oxfam offices around the world, with widespread bullying.

An Oxfam spokeswoman said that Ms Thomas left after the charity decided to create a “new and more strategic role, reporting directly to the chief executive as part of our senior leadership team”. She added: “We are extremely grateful for the vital contribution she has made.”

The charity said Ms Thomas had taken the job on an interim basis.

Ms Thomas said last night that she had made a “career choice”, adding: “I am not disillusioned with Oxfam and wish them well with their safeguarding work in the future.”


So you have stolen the TImes’s intellectual property and posted it here?


I’ve purchased it,just the same as giving it to you in paper form.


They are aligned with the law!

Adding a level of requirement above and beyond that required by statute is hardly unusual, or are you suggesting that people should only be fired from their civilian employment if they actually do something illegal?


Even when using the law, there is confusion and wiggle room. Are you saying that RAFAC shouldn’t have “Club rules”? How else do we run such an organisation?


So what your calling for is that the organisations rules be changed so that any member of Staff or Cadet can have a relationship as long as they are both over the age of 16, as that is the law as it applies to the ATC?

I’d suggest that the majority of staff and parents wouldn’t be happy with that state of affairs. (Not to mention the press who would have a field day).


I refer you all back to this (previously highlighted by me and others). It’s clear that someone believes that if no crime is proven then someone should be allowed back - it’s in their own words!

In this very thread we have someone advocating something that the report that prompted this discussion lambasted us for. Teflon must surely be the only CFAV who still believes this and that makes them a danger - I suggest that in the interests of safeguarding, Teflon is removed from the corps, because after all…


Don’t feed the troll everyone.


I think what he was alluding to, is that if someone is removed from the Corps and does not require DBS for their employment or lives then there is no consequences.


It would probably help everyone if the wiggle-room was reduced and the espoused standards of the organisation, were followed rigorously. Instead the secondary (internal) process is plagued by other pressures such as falling attendance, staff shortages, public exposure/embarrassment, and the old favourite of stringing it out long enough that no one can remember and then repost etc. (or maybe it becomes some one else’s problem).

As helpful as these forum discussion always are, it must be generally a point of disappointment to me, that in an organisation so wrapped up in regulation that there are so many differing responses - not to what should happen (for that is fairly individual opinion) - but what must happen according to the rules drawn up in advance and for everybody to agree to and abide by.

In many breaches of rules there will be mitigating circumstances which might temper the outcome depending on said breach. But where there are laws and standards to which the organisation is required to operate, then surely the mark of an excellent organisation would be to exceed them rather than wallow in dark political manoeuvrings and repeatedly being the subject of suspicion and conspiracy?


Not necessarily a bad thing; and in fact a certain amount of “wiggle room” is important.
Consider different hypothetical situations…

Two cadets both 17 years old (or even 16 and 17) are in a sexual relationship. One of them turns 18 and becomes a Staff Cadet.
It’s not breaking the law. In fact, even if we had a legal “position of trust” over cadets it would still not break the law - because where a sexual relationship pre-dates the position of trust it is not an offence to continue that relationship.

In the above case I would suggest that some common sense could be applied, though the rules say “it’s not allowed”.

However. Consider a 50 year old instructor having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old cadet. That too would be perfectly “within the law”, but would probably be considered by most - likely including the parents of the cadet - to be unacceptable given our role in the organization.

Consider also that if that 50 year old who is already in a relationship was only just applying to join as staff it would not be a crime. If CFAVs were given legal “position of trust” status it would STILL not be a crime.

But would we have concerns about a 50 year old who’s sexually engaging with a young person, actively seeking to join an organization where they will be working with lots of other young people?
I think most of us would… And if we didn’t then we are clearly missing the potential for trouble!
It might be perfectly legitimate - I’m sure we can all think of at least one happy couple with a large age gap - but it might also be signs of a someone with a questionable desire to be around young people.
We, as an organization, can not afford to take the risk of giving someone like that access to children - So the Corps says “no”.

“Inconsequential”? How? Only in that the person doesn’t suffer any legal ramifications. Well… We’re not about delivering punishment, we’re about keeping children safe from harm. The point is that the person is no longer in a position to put our children at risk.


Some very good thoughts there and I think personally I agree with the conclusion of the first scenario.

One of the difficulties must be that in joining RAFAC various promises are made, but the organisation does not have anything like the level of control that one might expect of regular service personnel in the RAF.

If you have willingly agreed to the rules of the club then one might be expected to behave to the agreed standards. Yet the Human Rights Act prevents the organisation from restricting various individual rights, making it highly possible for inappropriate behaviour to continue outside ACO core hours. It may be that a member of staff is carrying on inappropriately with a non-ACO juvenile, which is not a scenario considered yet (I don’t think?).

The ACO is limited in its ability to enforce situations which are outside its activities. Therefore, surely the police must be involved?


I agree.

My only intent in that post was to address Teflon’s comments regarding situations where the Police have already been involved but have decided either “no crime” or the CPS have not pursued it.


So if we take the example; they are in a legal and above board relationship with a 16 year old, not a cadet, and because someone thinks its a bit dodgy, they are refused. While we can say no to anyone, if they were to query it and not be happy and challenged it, unless the rationale is bulletproof there is very great potential for a lot of fuss and damaging the organisation’s policies. TBH I can’t see anyone being that fussed about joining the Air Cadets as staff, as there are plenty of other organisations/groups out there, given we are not special.
I do however like the idea that 50 is used as an age. As I have gone through the decades; 30, 40 and 50 and getting closer to 60 which I thought were “old”, I’ve felt no different in myself to when I was an older teenager. God knows what old is, but I ain’t there yet.

If someone has done wrong in the eyes of the law and not suffered a punishment of some sort, what is the point of making a point in law and where is the deterrent? The ‘punishment’ could in this instance going on the Sex Offenders Register or just going on a barred list, which prevents them having involvement.
The phrase “our children” does that mean just those in the ATC or wider sense, as the way it reads is just the Air Cadets, which if that is what is meant is a dangerous line to take. If there is any suspicion, they should at the very least be referred to the DBS for consideration for barring, although in the instance mentioned I couldn’t see being upheld.


I pulled “50” out of thin air… Don’t take it personally fella.


My hypothetical was that the 16 year old was a cadet… In which case the Corps has already made a decision. It’s not against the law but we would not allow any adult who is in a relationship with a cadet to become an instructor.
But to be fair we can apply your version too…
Not “Because someone thinks it’s a bit dodgy they are refused”… It’s: “Because someone thinks it’s a bit dodgy we have the freedom to look into it further and make our own decision based upon the information available.”

  1. If they have done wrong and the CPS prosecute then the punishment is dealt.
  2. If they have done wrong but the CPS don’t have enough to convict, then there may be no punishment, but in that case it’s not up to the RAFAC to punish on their behalf.
  3. If they haven’t don’t wrong by the law, but on the balance of probability the RAFAC has reasonable grounds to consider them a risk then we ditch them - as is our duty of care.

I fail to see what it difficult about that concept?

Certainly if the RAFAC had legitimate concerns then those concerns would be referred to the DBS - as in fact they would in case 2 where the person is clearly on the legal radar but the CPS couldn’t prosecute.
But in none of those cases is it the business of the RAFAC to “punish” anyone.