What is cadet abuse?
The Army, Air, and Sea Cadets are youth organisations under the Ministry of Defence, intended to teach children valuable life skills and personal qualities. Yet sometimes the instructors in these organisations misuse their position of trust, with life-changing consequences for the survivors.
Abuse in the cadets can take various forms, the most common being sexual abuse. The Ministry of Defence reported 335 allegations of sexual abuse in the Army and Air Cadets between 2012 – 2017.
If you’re the survivor of abuse in the military Cadets, you could make a claim to seek compensation for the pain you’ve suffered,
Should I report cadet abuse to the police?
If you or your child has been abused, or you suspect an officer, instructor, or anyone in a position of responsibility in the Cadets is abusing children, you should immediately report this to the police. Trained child protection police officers can visit you at home or in an alternative safe place of your choice.
To find out more about reporting or disclosing child abuse and the information that the police will want to know, please read our guide.
How to make a cadet abuse compensation claim
Against an individual abuser
If you suffered abuse in the Cadets, you may wish to consider a claim against the individual who committed the offences against you. We will investigate whether that person has sufficient assets with which to pay your compensation before bringing a claim of this nature. Often, an individual may not have any assets, or may no longer be alive, but this does not mean you cannot bring a claim.
Against the Ministry of Defence
It is also possible to bring an abuse claim against the Ministry of Defence, which is the organisation that is responsible for the Army, Sea, and Air Cadets. This is often the preferable option compared to pursuing an individual because the Ministry of Defence will have an insurance policy through which to pay you compensation.
We have successfully argued that the Ministry of Defence is responsible for the actions conducted by its staff whilst performing their roles within the organisation – also known as a legal principle called vicarious liability. We do this by obtaining evidence, such as witness statements, to prove that the abuser took advantage of their position of authority in the Cadets to carry out the abuse.
In addition to, or instead of, the principle of vicarious liability, there may be clear evidence that the Ministry of Defence was negligent in its duty of care to you and you suffered abuse as a cadet because of its failings. For example:
- If you disclosed to a member of staff that you were being abused
- If there were clear signs that you were being abused, and they failed to act to stop it
- If the abuser had previous convictions for sexual offences
Any of these scenarios would mean that the perpetrator should never have come into contact with you and the abuse you suffered could have been prevented.
Are there any time limits on cadet abuse claims?
Strictly speaking, you must bring a cadet abuse compensation claim within three years of being abused. If it occurred when you were a child, you have until your 21st birthday to bring a claim for compensation.
However, the courts recognise that sometimes it isn’t possible to bring a cadet abuse claim within these time limits. For instance, you might have been suffering from mental health conditions or feeling ashamed or embarrassed because of what happened to you. This is normal and understandable, given what you have suffered.
The court has discretion to extend the time limit to start your claim, even if many years have passed. We will work with you to illustrate to the court why your military cadet abuse claim should be allowed to proceed out of time and why you should be awarded compensation for what has happened to you.
At Bolt Burdon Kemp we are proud to have represented clients whose cadet abuse claims succeeded despite being decades out of time, and we have achieved justice for them as a result.
How can Bolt Burdon Kemp help?
Our specialist solicitors at Bolt Burdon Kemp can help you make a claim if you have suffered abuse while in the Cadets. We understand that discussing the abuse you have suffered can be distressing and we will work with you to ensure that any distress is limited as much as possible.
We have a team of male and female cadet abuse solicitors, so the choice is yours as to whom you feel more comfortable working with throughout the lifetime of your claim.
Whilst we appreciate that no amount of compensation will ever be enough to make up for what has happened, our team will work tirelessly to ensure that you obtain the justice that you deserve. This will include:
- Obtaining admissions of responsibility where possible
- Securing interim payments of compensation to allow you earlier access to treatment
- Seeking access to specialist experts that will assist us in assessing how the abuse has affected you throughout your life
Get in touch with our team of leading cadet abuse solicitors for a non-binding and confidential discussion to find out how we could help you. If you decide to instruct us, we will guide you through all aspects of the civil claims process, so you know you are supported. We act for most clients on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and we can also advise you about making a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.