It’s amazing how many people just don’t realise that!
I think it’s possible that the relative ambiguity or confusion suits the organisation…
there is no one “child protection act” more like 6/7 independant ones that most definately do apply to us as ACO
the wording is “Authority or trust” do NCOs have authority? ide say… yes…
But whether it is right or wrong, the ‘law’ says not…
Morally you are correct. Legally you aren’t. The sexual offences act 2003 is what details it, and we don’t come under it.
I actually saw a football coach arguing that it would make sense for him to fall within the definition of “position of trust”, which was nice as it was the first time I had seen acknowledgement that it was more tightly defined than the wording might suggest.
We assume a similar stance as if we were in a legal position of trust because it suits us to do so. In fact, we go beyond it since it only applies to children and vulnerable adults while we use the cadet/CFAV boundary. This is something that I oppose strongly.
The rules of our organisation need to be firmly based on the legal position. Anything beyond that stance can certainly be a “suggestion” or “recommendation” but we fall into so many holes when we try to restrict legal, in-place relationships or enforce restrictions in volunteering to meet some house-rule.
I hark back to school where we have 6th Formers (over 18) who mentor / tutor kids from as young as Year 8. They do this before, after school and at lunchtimes, completely unsupervised and no DBS backside covering. They are put into a ‘position of trust’ just as we do with senior cadets and have done for decades, bearing in mind that until 14 years ago many of these senior cadets would have been fully fledged adults and not just 18/19. As far as I’m aware there has been nothing on TV or media (pretty certain the red tops would have it on their front page) about anyone from the ATC being implicated in anything untoward, not unless HQAC have made sure that this fact stays hidden. if the latter is the case I would say that is worse than it coming to everyone’s attention. Sometimes dirty laundry needs to be aired in public to ensure things get done.
Frankly there are more things wrong with the Corps to be more concerned about than cadet relationships, regardless of their ages. This is something for parents to deal with and not us, unless the parents bring it our attention and even then I would say the parents need to be a more involved.
From my time as OC I loathed cadet relationships, these as they were more divisive in terms of sqn harmony than anything else I ever came across.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 specifies what constitutes a position of trust. Organisations such as ours do not qualify.
Section 22 refers:
)The following provisions apply for the purposes of section 21.
(2)Subject to subsection (3), a person looks after persons under 18 if he is regularly involved in caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of such persons.
(3)A person (A) looks after another person (B) on an individual basis if—
(a)A is regularly involved in caring for, training or supervising B, and
(b)in the course of his involvement, A regularly has unsupervised contact with B (whether face to face or by any other means).
(4)A person receives education at an educational institution if—
(a)he is registered or otherwise enrolled as a pupil or student at the institution, or
(b)he receives education at the institution under arrangements with another educational institution at which he is so registered or otherwise enrolled
Exactly. Youth organisations don’t qualify. Scouts. Girl guides. Youth clubs. Cadets. None.
The ACO takes its guidance on this subject from the NSPCC.
Having been on a corps child protection course recently the corps out look is straight forward,
Cadet - Cadet: OK
Staff Cadet - Staff Cadet: Ok
Staff - Staff: Ok
anything else now is not allowed in the corps.
No “but they were going out previously” it is all just a big red light now.
this was asked and the answer was a straight forward yes they are.
Who offer their opinion, not a statement in law.
While it is reasonable guidance, it is wrong to take those boundaries as absolute, especially as individuals within peer groups and occasionally within established relationships, traverse those boundaries.
In what way is a relationship between a CFAV and a staff cadet in any way a Child Protection matter?
It’s not. The corps just make it one. I have no problem with it tbh it’s just another internal rule.
As I said above, our rules need to be based in law. Guidance can be given recommending that we limit (new) relationships between tiers of the organisation but it is wrong of us to try to impose an arbitrary restriction on personal matters that do not actually affect the organisation in a real sense.
Fear of negative publicity for a relationship which is entirely legal or that the law would not concern itself about is not sufficient justification for a breach of privacy and an imposition on personal rights.
I can tell you for a fact there have been recent examples. Just because it doesn’t make it to the paper doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Why would broadcasting it to the rest of the AGO help? What learning point would we gain?
Our rules dont have to be aligned to law. So long as they don’t contradict law, they can go further.
I believe he was questioning whether they should, rather than whether they can.
Indeed - I am stating that our rules are wrong and need to be rethought.