Panorama Cadet Sexual Abuse Cover-up - BBK representing survivors

David McClenaghan - Partner in the Child Abuse Team

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David McClenaghan

  • Leading abuse lawyer believes cadet abuse to be rife
  • Evidence of MOD cover-ups  has been discovered
  • MOD have settled various compensation claims with clients of Bolt Burdon Kemp relating to cadet abuse

In the forthcoming BBC1 Panorama programme, ‘Cadet Abuse Cover Up’, airing on 4 July 2017 at 22:45, you will hear firsthand accounts from survivors of abuse at the hands of the Cadet Force’s instructors (incorporating Air, Sea, and Army Cadets).  The survivors have bravely come forward to reveal the details of their suffering.

David McClenaghan, Partner and Rebecca Sheriff, Associate Solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp represented survivors whose experiences are shared in the documentary, in their civil compensation claims, providing advice throughout about the process involved, what to expect, how the matter would proceed and the likely amount of compensation.  They address why such claims are brought and the response by the MOD.

In some of the cases featured, the Ministry of Defence have been aware of the abuse and the identity of some of the abusers but have failed to act, preferring to cover up.  They are alleged to have been negligent in their handling of claims of abuse.  The result of the lack of investigation and inaction has led to many more cadets suffering abuse.  Sadly, the abuse has been perpetrated for decades on a nationwide scale.

David McClenaghan says: “For several years now, I have regularly advised and acted for clients who have suffered abuse at the hands of cadet leaders.  Strikingly, the abuse has not been isolated to one cadet group but has occurred throughout the UK.  It is my belief that many sexual offenders will have secured positions within the Cadets and committed sexual offences against a large number of young Cadets. It has been a privilege to work alongside my clients in shining a light for the first time on the issue of sexual abuse within the Cadet organisations.  I have no doubt that their courage in speaking about their experiences will give strength to others to come forward and tell their stories, and ultimately hold perpetrators of abuse and the MOD to account.”

Panorama has interviewed survivors and witnesses, represented by Bolt Burdon Kemp’s specialist Abuse Solicitors and will reveal the names of some convicted instructors in the programme.

Despite the MOD being aware of some instructors being convicted of abuse and reports of others having carried out acts of abuse, the abusers were permitted to remain in positions of trust and allowed continued contact with Cadets.

David and Rebecca hope that this programme will encourage people to come forward who have not previously disclosed the abuse they have suffered, whether that be in the Cadet setting or any other; to encourage victims of those abusers named to report their abuse to the police; to put paedophiles behind bars and to secure justice for those who have suffered abuse in the cadets.  It is also to educate and raise awareness that abuse has been rife in the various organisations of the MOD and that this is not just an issue embedded in the past.  The survivors are not alone.

All press enquiries to:

David McClenaghan – 07745 519675 or davidmclenaghan@boltburdonkemp.co.uk

Rebecca Sheriff – 07557 804716 or rebeccasheriff@boltburdonkemp.co.uk

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