Potential Safeguarding Concern

Asking out of concerned but also curiosity

A Staff Cadet sent me a friend request on Facebook earlier today, and it has me feeling an odd sense of worry.

The age gap between myself and the Staff Cadet is 1 year. We are both Cadet SNCOs, are well known to each other and get along well on squadron but do not interact much beyond that.

I am acutely aware that it is forbidden for Staff Cadets to send friend requests to younger Cadets, which is the main cause for my concern, but I have also found myself wondering about situations where a Cadet and Staff Cadet have been friends on social media since a time when both cadets were under 18, and remain friends after one turns 18.

I am prepared to speak to Staff, but I am slightly apprehensive about talking to my OC, as he is also the parent of the Staff Cadet in question and has previously shown signs of nepotism on squadron.

As such, I have two questions:

  1. Would it be sufficient for me to speak to any other member of Staff on my squadron?

  2. Can two cadets, who have been friends on social media prior to one turning 18, remain friends after one turns 18?

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Decline the request.

If you feel uncomfortable about the situation, speak to a staff member who you are comfortable talking too, doesnt have to be OC

Point 2 - grey area, over 18 year old would need to remember theyre now an adult and not to be an idiot


If you feel a bit uncomfortable with the OC you could go to the Adj and say that “a staff cadet” has done this. You don’t need to say who, but could suggest a general reminder is sent to all the staff cadets on the squadron.
If it then happens again it’s more of an issue as they can’t plead ignorance


Point 1 - Decline the request.

If you feel comfortable doing so, I might suggest pulling the staff cadet aside and just reminding them of the rules - it might have been an honest slip, or they might need a “reminder”.

If you don’t feel comfortable (or if you do and they don’t seem receptive), find a staff member (or another staff cadet) that you feel comfortable with and pass it to them.

Point 2 - technically forbidden but common sense says as long as it’s not wildly inappropriate and the staff cadet isn’t an idiot with it it can be overlooked. I’d apply the same to pre-existing prelationships between cadets when they cross the cadet/staff cadet boundaries - as long as they’re not obviously dodgy (eg massive age gap) and the O18 isn’t an idiot about it (and they keep it off-squadron, like all relationships) it’s reasonable in my book.


Funny enough the Staff Cadet knew to leave our unofficial WhatsApp group once they turned 18 but still sent a friend request to me. That seems a bit odd to me

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I’m not so sure about that. I haven’t looked for a while but I have a vague recollection that the regulations are quite specific on relationships where both were under 18 and that being allowed to continue if one went over.

Despite that, honesty is the best plan in my mind. You could decline the request and then simply speak to the individual without involving staff at all. The individual will probably be grateful you handled this without making a fuss.

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ACP04 Standard 5, para 18-19

Pre-existing Relationships
18. Staff, CFAV and Staff Cadets shall not overstep the boundaries between themselves and
cadets by engaging in friendships or sexual relationships. This is an important factor to prevent
any breaches of the POT or POAT, to make sure that any volunteer acts appropriately towards cadets, and to prevent grooming and child abuse occurring. However, in line with Section 24 of the Sexual Offences Act, there are particular circumstances where a pre-existing relationship will be accepted.

  1. Circumstances. The circumstances are as follows:
  • An 18-year-old has recently become a Staff Cadet.
  • The Staff Cadet is in a relationship with a cadet who’s is aged over 16, the start of which pre-dates the individual taking on the role as a Staff Cadet.
  • The relationship is consensual, and
  • The Staff Cadet has informed their CoC of the pre-existing relationship prior to taking
    their appointment.

edit to add link > ACP 004.pdf

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