Devon Leads Fight Against Mate-Crime

Devon's leading the nation in tackling the exploitation of people with learning difficulties.

Barnstaple has been piloting a government-backed project looking into the way vulnerable people are preyed on by unscrupulous people who befriend them for gain.

The Safety Net project was prompted by the murder in 2006 of Steven Hoskins in Cornwall who'd been bullied, abused and killed by people he looked on as his friends.

The project has coined the phrase 'mate-crime' and now it's supervisor, Regional Development Officer for ARC South West Rod Landman is writing the findings and drawing up best practice guidelines which can be used nationwide.

He says he has come across shocking abuse of vulnerable people: from regular thefts and bullying to pimping and the rare cases of murder.

But it isn't the case that people with learning problems are less safe in the community than they were in the old institutions.  And, he says, the key is to make vulnerable adults aware...but not scared.

To hear more about the project CLICK HERE

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