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She thought they were friends...

Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,924

Scope community team

edited July 2019 in Disabled people
This week as part of Hate Crime and Bullying, we're looking at Mate Crime. Mate Crime is when someone says they're your friend, but instead do things to take advantage of you, such as asking for money. A real friend doesn't need to be bought and someone who takes advantage of you is not a true friend.

A few years ago, Linda became the support worker for a lovely lady we'll call Nora. Nora had Cerebral Palsy and learning difficulties, lived alone and was almost entirely isolated apart from her sister who was in and out of hospital. Aside from Linda, the only person Nora regularly saw was her neighbour 'Jill' who would pop in, help pay her bills and fetch her shopping. To Nora, Jill was her lifeline and her best friend. In her own words, Nora 'couldn't cope without Jill' and she was only too happy to show her appreciation by buying Jill expensive gifts. It only transpired when Linda was giving Nora a hand with her contents insurance, that Jill had been helping herself to Nora's things. Items such as her mother's jewellery and her father's collectable records had vanished and cheques intended to pay bills were never making it to her utility suppliers.
It eventually turned out that Jill had been stealing from Nora for years and even when shown proof of Jill's actions, Nora found it very hard to believe that her friend could be responsible. Even when she eventually accepted that Jill had, she made excuses on her behalf. To this day, she still considers Jill a friend. For all those years, Nora had been take advantage of by someone who claimed to be her friend. She had been the victim of 'Mate Crime'.
Mate Crime can be subtle and difficult to spot. But if you're concerned someone important to you might be the victim of mate crime, Association for Real Change (ARC) suggest looking out for the following signs:
  • * Changes in routine, behaviour, appearance, finances or household (e.g. new people visiting or staying over, lots of new ‘friends’, lots more noise or rubbish than there normally is)
  • * Unexplained injuries
  • * Being involved in sexual acts which they have not agreed to.
  • * Losing weight.
  • * Not taking care of themselves and looking dirty or scruffy.
  • * Bills not being paid.
  • * A ‘friend’ who does not respect, bullies or undermines the person.
  • * Suddenly short of money, losing possessions or changing their will.
  • * The person ‘doing what they are told to’ by a ‘friend’.
  • * Showing signs of mental ill health.
  • * Not being with usual networks of friends/family or missing weekly activities.
  • * Goods or packages arriving at a person’s house (and then being collected by someone else soon after).
  • * The house is a mess after lots of parties.
If you think you need to report a case of Mate Crime, Mencap recommends you:
  • Phone your local police.
  • Report it online
  • Download an easyread reporting form
  • Contact Citizens Advice Bureau or Stop Hate UK, who can report it for you.
  • Call NSPCC or Childline who can help you report it to the police.
  • Tell your parent, carer or support worker - they will support you to report it.
Have you experienced Mate Crime, or do you know someone who has? 
Senior Community Partner
Scope

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Replies

  • AilsAils Member Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for highlighting this topic, Adrian.  I had never heard of "Mate Crime" before so have been educated today.  That is awful what happened to that poor lady!  I have never experienced this myself or no of anybody who has, but it seems really important to raise awareness of this. I'm sure many members on the Community will find this topic interesting and really worthwhile if it helps to warn people against it.  
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,122 Disability Gamechanger
    I was victim to something similar. When I moved into my new bungalow my neighbour was there and helped me move in doing lots of jobs e.g. plumbing washer cooker heavy lifting unpacking. I first noticed something wrong when he had been in my cupboards leaving biscuits out and some packet sauces were missing but I wasn't alarmed thought I had misplaced stuff in confusion  of moving. Then s few days later some money went missing and there was only him and me in the house when this happened
     I distanced myself and told him I didn't need any help
     I later discovered lots more missing iPad my son's clothes and precious baby photos and pic of me and my late dad amongst lots of other things and him coming in my garden over the fence. I approached him of course he denied it it was my word against his even tho I didn't report it due to no real evidence he knew I was onto him. 
    He still lives next door but I ignore him and told him to stay away from my property or I will report him to police. So far he stays away. I thought I had found a good helpful neighbour but he just used me and took advantage of my disability 
  • MisscleoMisscleo Member Posts: 646 Pioneering
    Iv brought this up a few times on different sites.
    I 1st saw it in 2013 when moms neighbour kept saying your moms given me this"
    We had a big job stopping the neighbour and getting her husband involved helped alot. He gave me a lot of it bsck.
    It could easily have gone unnoticed had the neighbour not bragged about her presents" 
    The police should deal with this crime but they dont.
    They dont deal with Disability Hate Crime" either
    Shame!
  • Hart86Hart86 Member Posts: 394 Pioneering
    This is such a horrible type of crime that targets vulnerable people!! 
    I’ve seen it so much and it can be so subtle too 😡

    My nan was a victim of this in a similar way to your mum @Misscleo! She wasn’t all there in the end and would regularly “gift” things, or would ask her neighbour to get her some milk and give her a twenty not even realising it’s too much or to expect change or even remember having done it. A true friend wouldn’t have accepted the things that were being given and certainly wouldn’t take advantage to profit themselves!  😟

    I recently helped a man with his Universal Credit that had a carer who really should have been helping him as he was really in a bad way and didn’t understand much. It turned out the young lady (I really want to use a different word to describe her!!!) that was claiming carer allowance for him hadn’t even seen him in over 10 months!!!!! 🤬 
    She’d basically used him and his PIP to exempt her from working and he didn’t want tonargue because she was nice to him and he used to be friends with her parents before they’d passed and he really didn’t know any better.

    Not only did she take advantage, in doing so it meant he ended up financially worse off because he couldn’t get SPD and wasn’t able to get an actual carer who would have actually helped him 😡
  • RoddyRoddy Member Posts: 389 Pioneering
    Unfortunately, 'Mate Crime' is something that most of us would be unaware of happening to us, until it's too late or damage has been done. There will always be cold & callous people out there who will take advantage of us whether we are disabled are not and even the most astute of us can become victims in one way or another... This can be the so-called 'borrowers' who never return items we may have loaned to them, and because we consider them as 'mates' we tend not to challenge them about things. It's not easy is it? After all, many of us may borrow things from those that we know or even rely upon mates to help us out when we're in need and this can include borrowing money too...  Many a relationship has also seen a partner deceiving the other one or simply taking them for granted, and it is times such as these when we are at our most vulnerable perhaps, being 'blinded' by feelings of 'love' towards the person who is simply scamming us for all they can get... Many friendships are particularly open ones, where we or our mates know almost everything about each other, how much we have in the bank or whatever, or when we get paid and how much. Some of these people will also be our 'appointee's' at times too, and we can do no more but to trust them in the hope that they are honest, and thankfully most appointee's are.

    I can only add that in my own personal situation, I used my instincts as best that I was able as I 'thought' that they served me well, but even I have fallen victim of 'Mate Crime' to the extent that I find it very difficult indeed to trust another living soul, save for my Son & Daughter. I've had several so-called 'mates' over the years that have taken advantage of me and stolen things/belongings from under my nose. It is horrible when such things happen, but I'm afraid it does, as to why I now look upon most people I know as 'acquaintances'  rather than mates, and I no longer allow myself to label them as being anything more.     
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    This is why DBS checks are essential. I made a complaint via email about a former carer who used to treat me like **** this week to my local social services department. I will follow up on my original complaint tomorrow morning as soon as their offices are open.  She was violent towards me and made horrible faces and told shocking lies too about my 2 year old son. 
  • RoddyRoddy Member Posts: 389 Pioneering
    This is why DBS checks are essential. I made a complaint via email about a former carer who used to treat me like **** this week to my local social services department. I will follow up on my original complaint tomorrow morning as soon as their offices are open.  She was violent towards me and made horrible faces and told shocking lies too about my 2 year old son. 
    Hi @April2018mom

    I have spent the best part of 3 years taking legal action against my carers for victimisation, neglect and wilful discrimination. YEARS of gathering evidence and dealing with solicitors in readiness to serve the claim. Literally 2 weeks before the claim was served I was advised by my solicitor that Legal Help was no longer being paid for my case, and although I had over 70% chance of winning, I was told that I would personally have to pay for the case myself which was in excess of a staggering £38,000  And so, my so-called carers have got away with blue murder and it seems that many others in my situation are faced with the same. No Legal Help for gross injustice. What a marvellous country this is... Sure, it was considered that I would have won and been awarded high compensation, but who has a spare £38,000 to fork out in the first place? It's a total disgrace and the carers are the winners as they know that they cannot be touched... They even laugh at me now, as they know that they've been let off the hook.  
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,924

    Scope community team

    Thanks for sharing your stories all. It's sobering to read how widespread cases of mate crime are.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    Your feedback is really important to the development of the online community, so please remember to complete our online community annual survey
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Adrian_Scope   Thank you for highlighting this.

    Have been a victim .

    Starts off small but can manifest it self into something else.  Comes in various disguises and personnel.

    In my case went to live in area of an estate. Neighbours next door met them very supportive, kind and interested in me.

    Anyway they asked we will help you gave them a key.

    I suddenly realised when moved in that the area was controlled by this neighbour and his family.  Suddenly things were missing food items, freezer items.

    Store cupboard essentials.

    Used to be woken up and there she is in my kitchen having a cup of coffee.  His wife. Used my key to have a coffee help her self.

    In my time on this estate would be in my face all the while. No peace not a chance being left alone.  These people.

    Who befriended me. Including stealing and lots more by now I was getting paranoid.  I knew it was them but was powerless and he had absolute power, control over every one in this small estate. 

    Who were elderly or had disability or had some how being used themselves.

    I had friends who  did not turn up to visit but when rang made some excuses.  He was becoming a problem.

    I did one vital thing wrote it all down day by day in a diary.

    The thing is you do not know it is happening to you till it is too late. He found out the family did that I was an alcoholic and got me into drinking again after a few months of absenteeism.

    Controlled me over that.   What is it better to have some one being drunk all the time to control over.

    Take anything they want. I found anything I did was been scrutinised and watched over.  Including been made to sign for things I did not wish to buy or partake in or be a part of.

    Mate Crime is  also may I add some one who thinks there better than you smarter.   A con man in disguise.

    In my case of mate crime had to find a way of getting out.

    I had to move but did this secretly .  As my moves were being watched and the son her son seems every time be in my face.

    I also had to enter Rehab.  Through my Doctor.   Who realised as I had to speak to him about what was happening.

    Mental health off the scale and he signed me in to the clinic. The Mental Health Act  to use to get me the help and make be well again.

    Anxiety plays a big part, stress and much more this is what they do.  Those who do mate crime.

    When they found out I had started Rehab the intimidation started the veiled annoyance, irritation of name calling.

    One by one the neighbours who had been in his grasp managed some how to find a way of moving out. In the spate of 18 months we all had gone.

    I had told some of them I was moving I think that might have helped and given them a sort of courage.

    My diary went to the housing association, nothing happened as far as I know.

    I got clean and have been for twelve years.

    What was really horrific if I went to Mental health conferences. Asked where do you live mentioned this estate then this person would say.

    I used to live there do you know this family mentioned the name.  Moved out had problems.

    Yet did nothing.

    The other problem the Police told me was evidence of proof as the bully deny anything or the victim too scared to say anything.

    The law needs changing.  That is the big issue getting these people dealt with.

    I have tried to move on and it still runs deep the scars.  Have trust issues and problems with people befriending.

    Put up a wall.

    @thespiceman  
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
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  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,924

    Scope community team

    edited July 2019
    Hello all and thank you again for your stories.

    I've edited some methods of reporting mate crime into the original post.

    If you're unsure whether what you or a loved one is experiencing is mate crime, it might be worth taking Spiceman's advice and keeping a diary. Individual instances might not seem significant, but when viewed as part of a larger picture, they can often be quite compelling.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    Your feedback is really important to the development of the online community, so please remember to complete our online community annual survey
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Adrian_Scope   Thank you first for adding more information and guidance.

    Second the big problem is that no one wants to admit there being set up and being played a fool and being used.

    Last few years a Hate Crime Officer who deals with Mate Crime arrived at former support group I was part of.

    He had met me before I had told my story to the disbelief of those there.

    So I did the following.  Did a scenario an example of what can happen.  With one of the members of the support group.

    You live on your own. 

    You mentioned to me about a maintenance problem in your home give me your spare key I  will let them in.   Are you going out.? 

    This member this would not happen but I responded you would because they are just in your opinion I am  being a neighbour.  As I live next door to you.

    You do not think really that would happen. 

    Then I  might keep it with the same suggestion just an idea if in case anything like an emergency.  

    He just sat there saying would not happen but I with the Police man who was there said your in denial.

    Easy to fall into that trap.

    Thanks once again.

    @thespiceman




    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Such an important topic to highlight! Well done @Adrian_Scope
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
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