A city-wide cross partnership programme has been unveiled this week in Newcastle to tackle the abuse faced by vulnerable residents. One of the principal aims of the project is to help raise awareness and tackle the problems of ‘cuckooing’, ‘home takeover’ and ‘home invasion’ which exploit vulnerable people in the community.
The partnership is made up of three lead bodies – Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board, the Safeguarding Children Partnership and the Safe Newcastle Board who have put together two new animations which help explain the problem. The partnership is keen to educate both the public and professionals in spotting and reporting any concerns.
Coun Karen Kilgour, Cabinet Member for a Healthy City, said:
”I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for their support in raising awareness of this, often hidden, abuse of some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. We’re committed to eradicating this type of behaviour and this latest project is a good example of how this partnership working brings together a wide range of knowledge and experience to tackle key issues in an effective way.”
Her council colleague, Paula Maines, Cabinet Member for a Resilient City, said:
”There is no excuse for abuse of any sort, and it’s a key priority for us that everyone can live safely and without fear. I’m proud that we are continuing to work proactively with our partners to prevent this type of activity in our city and would encourage anyone with concerns to contact the relevant agency’.”
According to the new partnership ‘home takeover’ can take place when criminal gangs use violence, threats and abuse to target the homes of vulnerable residents to use them as a base for criminal activity – often drug related. For the partnership – ‘cuckooing’ is a form of exploitation. and can have a devastating impact on the wellbeing and mental health of households.
The new animations aim to help both welfare professionals and the general public to identify this abuse especially amongst young people who may be at risk of exploitation. The partnership lists potential signs of abuse:
- Becoming withdrawn, nervous and anxious
- High numbers of visitors at an address
- Bad home conditions with self-neglect
- Signs of drug misuse
- Holding weapons
- Complaints of ASB
- Involvement in crime
- Missing people, including children found in properties which have been taken over.
Adapted from a News Release produce by Newcastle City Council.