Disabled people and ‘cuckooing’

London DDPO Hate Crime Partnership – Training Course 3

Cuckooing is where a criminal or a group of people befriends a disabled person and takes over their home, abuses them and uses the person’s home to commit crimes like drug dealing or prostitution.

Trainer: Ruth Bashall, Stay Safe East
Speakers have been invited from the Metropolitan Police and a local Council. Names to be confirmed.

Why we are running this training

Our organisations are coming across more and more Deaf and disabled people who are being abused in their homes by people who have moved in on them. Usually this is so the abuser can deal drugs from the disabled person’s home. Or sometimes it is a group of people who take over the person’s home, and use it as a drinking den. Sometimes the abusers makes money by forcing the victim into prostitution. When the disabled person asks them to leave, the abusers can become violent. Sometimes they make the disabled person commit a crime themselves, like selling drugs or stealing. A disabled person who has been cuckooed is at very high risk of being hurt. They are a victim of hate crime – they have been targeted because they are disabled and seen as ‘vulnerable’.
The police and local councils in London are trying to deal with this but don’t always understand the needs of Deaf and disabled victims.
Victims may become dependent on the people abusing them, or they may be very scared, so supporting disabled victims of cuckooing can be very challenging for advocates and DDPOs.
The training aims to equip DDPOs, including hate crime advocates, self-advocacy groups and others with the basic tools to support disabled victims of cuckooing. It is a chance to ask questions and to discuss what we can do as a hate crime partnership.

The training will look at:

  • What is cuckooing? Recognising when someone is being targeted
  • What happens when someone is cuckooed? How does cuckooing affect the victim?
  • What should we do if someone tells us they have ‘friends’ who have taken over their home and are threatening them?
  • Why do victims sometimes get blamed?
  • What is the link with hate crime?
  • Keeping victims safe: what can we do?
  • What should the Police and local Councils do?
  • How do we keep ourselves safe if we are supporting a victim of cuckooing?

We will use case studies to understand the issues and what we can do to help Deaf and disabled people be safe. If you have examples to share, please bring them with you to the training.
We have invited a speaker from the Metropolitan Police and from a local Council to speak about the work that is being done to prevent cuckooing, and deal with the people who target disabled people and others. We will confirm the names of the speakers nearer the date of the training.

Who is the training for?

This training is part of the work of the London DDPO Hate Crime Partnership. Priority will be given to DDPOs, especially those doing self-advocacy or hate crime work. There will be some places for other organisations working on hate crime or wider crime who are supporting disabled people who have been cuckooed.


10.30     Registration and coffee
11.00      Introductions and ground rules, aims of the day
11.10      Presentation by the trainer, Ruth Bashall: What is cuckooing? Why does it happen to Deaf and disabled people?
11.20      Questions
11.30      Speaker from the Metropolitan Police; questions and discussion
12.00      Short comfort break
12.10      Speaker from a local Council
12.30      Questions and discussion
13.00      Lunch
13.45      DVD from Lewisham Speaking Up and discussion
14.00      Case studies: Deaf or disabled people being cuckooed – what can we do to help keep them safe?
15.10      Coffee break
15.20      Managing the risk to the victim and to advocates or support workers: safety do’s and dont’s
15.50      Questions and discussion
16.20      Evaluation and next training
16.30      Close


Bookings are no longer available for this event.