The Ministry of Defence has paid just under £730,000 in compensation to teenaged Army cadets abused by their adult instructors over the past five years.
The Army Cadet Force is a youth organisation sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence provides equipment, funding and manpower to train youngsters, aged between 12 and 18¾, in a range of basic military, adventurous and community-based skills.
Over the years, as a quick Google will confirm, there have been numerous allegations of abuse made against adults employed to work with cadets.
Using the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we asked the Ministry of Defence to provide information about the number of compensation claims it had settled in relation to Army Cadet Force cadet victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. We also asked for the value of compensation payments made. We asked for information held by the Ministry of Defence since 1st January 2010, but for some reason it provided information from 1st January 2011 instead.
It is noted that the Ministry of Defence failed to provide either a response or valid refusal notice within the 20 working days required by law. The Ministry of Defence is therefore in breach of section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
The full text of our request appears below:
Ministry of Defence
Their Reference Number:
Request by FOI By Proxy (sent 5th August 2016):
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am making this request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Please provide the following information since 1st January 2010.
1. A yearly breakdown of the number of cadets paid compensation for physical/sexual/emotional abuse sustained during their Army Cadet Force training. If at all possible, please list the number of relevant physical/sexual/emotion abuse cases separately (e.g. 2010 - compensation was paid in relation to X cases of physical abuse; Y cases of sexual abuse; Z cases of emotional abuse).
2. A yearly breakdown of the cumulative amount in compensation paid to those cadets disclosed in response to point 1 above.
3. A yearly breakdown of the maximum single compensation payment made to those cadets disclosed in response to point 1 above.
In accordance with section 11 of the Act, please provide your response in electronic format to the return email address associated with this request.
Many thanks for your help with this matter.
On behalf of FOI By Proxy
Response by the Ministry of Defence (received 7th October 2016):
The Ministry of Defence provided the following information:
- In 2011 two claims for sexual abuse were settled, in the total amount of £620,000. The highest of those individual payments was in the amount of £410,000.
- In 2012 two claims for sexual abuse were settled, in the total amount of £66,750. The highest of those individual payments was in the amount of £48,000.
- In 2013 one claim for sexual abuse and one claim for emotional abuse were settled. The sexual abuse claim was settled for £44,500 and the emotional abuse claim for £25,000.
- In 2014 three claims for sexual abuse and one claim for physical abuse were settled. The sexual abuse claims were settled in the total amount of £257,500. The physical abuse claim was settled in the amount of £16,090.30. The highest of those individual payments was in the amount of £195,000.
- In 2015 no compensation was paid.
- In 2016, up until 5th August (the date of our request), one claim for sexual abuse was settled, in the amount of £30,000.
You can view the Ministry of Defence's letter of response here.
Update (21 Aug 2017): Please see this newer article about the MOD's response to a BBC Panorama exposé on cadet sexual abuse.