Historic Sexual Abuse Audit


Back to my point perhaps about the difference between the rules and their application?

My own experience is that on balance, the attraction of not losing a member of uniformed staff weighs against the clean application of this approach … and that is where the problems start with the ACO setting itself up beyond the police.


Not sure how the RAFAC sees its position as judge and executioner, but surely the duty of care extends to every situation but sometimes it seems that the objective is to avoid public awareness, so we would not necessarily know what punishment is handed down - say move to another unit no questions asked.

One of the scenarios posted was similar to a recent case of Cheshire PC, who used his position to make contact with young girls. But surely the RAFAC by virtue of ACP1, should be lilly white - by training Cadets and preparing them for citizenship, it should enable them to know what is acceptable and what is not. And if you have people doing the training, who fall into the grey area, there is a danger it could drag the rest down with it, especially if the RAFAC is not seen to deliver on that duty of care.


The point is that only the courts hand down punishment - the RAFAC doesn’t.

If someone is judged to be not suitable (but there’s not enough evidence for a criminal prosecution) then the RAFAC’s actions are not to punish, but simply to safeguard.


Just to clarify, who would refer a case the police - surely it is the parent, as guardian, who should make that step and not for the RAFAC.

It is not that clear, and if it negates might it then be seen to making a judgement solely within the parameters of operational necessity.


Absolutely not.

If you suspect a crime has been committed then you should inform the police - indeed, this is one of the issues highlighted in the report!

(Top of page 9)


So … would you expect the same approach to be applied consistently across cadets, uniformed staff, CIs and Civillian Committee members?


People I know who work in social services have said if they become aware of a situation, as they are told, you can’t necessarily tell parents/guardians as they may be complicit. Knocked me a bit, but they said it is a very, very strange world.


Correct if allegation involved the family. Was involved in an incident many years ago on Summer Camp, female cadet made allegation about father. Bus stopped away from drop off point, Social Services collected her and her brother, father went down for 8 years for sexual abuse and ABH of both cadets. Very sad case, but true.


The way my mate told me was in all cases, as the family could be involved in some way so advising them could do more damage than good. As they said a very, very strange world. But then they are professionals and deal with things that we are highly unlikely to ever to come across and we’ve all seen the press if social services get safeguarding wrong.


I appreciate that, but what I meant was where a parent might have concerns, suspicions or evidence of abuse (or even bullying) within the Corps

I am not clear on the extent of Social Services powers - a situation can be reported to them but do they absolute power to investigate or can this be mitigated by other agency assurances and they kept at bay. Obviously in the case mentioned by Brooke Bond the SS (excuse that abbreviation) people had reason to protect girl - hence the complicit comment because wives do tend to stick up for husbands - marriage vows and all that, but there had to be hard evidence for them to intervene - suggests the child was already on an at risk.

I have just attended a work related course on protecting against bullying - this identified that there are various individuals within a child’s school existence who play a part in recognising the signs, and it did not even touch on Youth Organisations. So it seems that there are several levels which technically monitor a child, and if this ‘surveillance’ applies to bullying, it can equally apply to abuse, but a failing in anyone of these, can cause delay and thereby harm.

The parent has as much responsibility as others, although some tend to restrict their degree of responsibility to the conception bit. However there is tendency to overlook the fact that a) parents constitute a major part of the Squadron Association, and b) by a process of election, they have a Chairman who has a remit to monitor Child Welfare.

Surely that Chairman has a major responsibility to the parents to ensure that the RAFAC does not fail?


Maybe so, but that’s really a poorly applied choice of wording. The book says that the civcom are concerned with “cadet welfare” but they are not routinely DBS checked; they are given no safeguarding training whatsoever; and they are totally detached from the routine activities of a Squadron.

I’d say that in the context of a CivCom the limit of their “welfare” involvement is basically little more than to ensure that cadets aren’t missing out on activities through financial hardship or unfair selection processes.

That’s not to say of course that if the CivCom were aware of an issue they shouldn’t report it but I certainly wouldn’t describe it as a “major responsibility”.
It is totally unrealistic and unfair to place any sort of specific safeguarding responsibility onto people who aren’t present to execute that duty and who have received no training at all.

That role rests with the CFAVs who are at the coal face and who are given the training to approach it.


So what you are saying is that as parents they are not trained to be alert to the matters of abuse or bullying and it is not their job!

It may have escaped attention that a significant number of the documented cases have involved people at the coal face as you put it! And what is more, those individuals were trained.

I am simply saying that the Civcom provides a totally impartial medium to protect the interests of the Cadets without the need for involvement in supervising activities.

Besides which many parents will have DBS checks as part of their professional life, and please do correct me, but is there not an initiative to have registered Civcom members with RAFAC sponsored DBS checks.

You are saying that the Uniform side of things can quite adequately handle the situation, when history suggests something different, especially if the BBC programme last year was to be believed.


I think the point is that yes, history is showing that there were errors made by staff. These staff should have been trained.

Now you want to involve people who aren’t routinely trained and think that will make the situation better?

I fully accept some CivComs will have DBS checked staff, some will be proactive and trained or might have a profession that does that for them but in the main they don’t.

Please stop trying to make out that all CivComs are the solution to everything because they really aren’t. If you’re lucky enough to have a good one then well done but spare a thought for those of us who don’t.


Simply stating the obvious, but willing to listen. Shame you dont have a good Civcom - wonder how much the Cadets are missing? Want some volunteers?


That wasn’t exactly what I was saying but it applies… What “training” does the average parent receive?

Not all CivCom personnel are parents.

It isn’t their job.

Some may well do. Many do not.
Either way that gives no assurance to the RAFAC because how the hell do we know which parents are DBS checked?
That Chairman who you seem to think has some grand role in protecting children could very well be a child molester for all we know - which is precisely why they are not permitted access to cadets without a cleared and trained CFAV present.

No, That’s not what I’m saying. You’re twisting my statement. I could do the same to yours… Look…

“So what you’re saying Aries is that CFAVs can’t be trusted and are all potential child molesters who need to be watched by the CivComs?”

What I am saying is that it would be wholly unacceptable to place the burden of responsibility for the safeguarding of cadets - as your comment suggests is the case - onto people who have been given no training, no advice, no assistance, and no support for that role, and who are not present to execute it.

…Which is pretty much exactly what I have already said above, but using slightly different words.
Hopefully it’ll be clearer this time.


Yes the program showed issues with uniformed side…

Just recently there has been an ex CI (non uniform) jailed for historic sex abuse. Other organisations such as Football clubs have been found to of been found wanting too in this subject they are non uniform and out with the MOD sphere of influence

The common denominator it simple…
Deviants in a position of trust and using the power they have to inflict themselves on others.

If you really think by having a CivComm is the answer to stop this, then not only are you delusional but also potentially part of the problem.


I don’t get the idea of trained and not trained.
Even though I’ve sat through several BASICs and read the booklets HQAC produce I do not regard myself in any way whatsoever trained in safeguarding, potentially slightly better informed, but not trained. However, I, with my nigh on 30 years of parenthood, regard myself as more than able to spot if things aren’t right and offer a word to the wise to cadets and some staff. What they do after is not in my control.

If a member of the CWC said they spotted something didn’t look right with a cadet, it would be churlish and stupid not to take notice. You don’t need a DBS or be trained to spot problems. Would a parent who came with a concern be ignored, as they didn’t have a DBS or have been trained?
I wonder how many cases anywhere, come to anyone’s attention from trained and or DBSd individuals?
If you were to ask anyone who has been involved somewhere in the Air Cadets where something of sexual nature has come to light, I would lay money that even with all the (so called) training they would have been largely unaware until there was a “knock on the door”. From what you see in the press safeguarding seems to be after the case firefighting.

I’ve spoken in the past to those I know in social services when SCRs have hit the headlines and asked how it happens and what they said is
one the high caseloads experienced by social workers,
two the turnover of social workers where someone leaves and their cases get given to others who are already busy
three the fact many qualify and are working from a predominantly theoretical base and have little real world experience and the theory does always dovetail with reality.
four the families concerned have several agencies working with them.


Is it National “Let’s not bother to read the words and instead just take up a contrary position for the sake of it” week or something?


No, it isn’t… :wink:


Just those two then… Apparently nobody else got the memo.