Disability, Mate Crime, and Cuckooing (Home Takeovers)

Stephen Macdonald, John Clayton, Catherine Donovan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the practice of home takeovers, known as ‘cuckooing’, and highlights how disabled individuals are particularly vulnerable to this form of mate/hate crime. Cuckooing is often described as a recent phenomenon stemming from shifts in organised crime business models, referred to as County Lines, especially within the illegal heroin or crack cocaine markets, where organised criminal groups (OCGs) expand their reach across counties in the UK. While existing research on cuckooing largely associates it with County Lines OCGs, this chapter argues that cuckooing is a more commonplace and localised occurrence than previously thought. Drawing on data collected through a qualitative study, this chapter includes practitioners' accounts of supporting those victimised. The findings illustrate the intersectional relationships between disability, drug use, and substance addiction. The chapter demonstrates that factors such as a lack of Adult Services and poverty create an environment conducive to this type of mate/hate crime. The chapter concludes with a need to understand links between localised and County Lines forms of cuckooing, to develop effective multiagency interventions to prevent this form of criminality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisability Hate Crime: Known Harms and Future Directions
EditorsLeah Burch, David Wilkin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Feb 2024

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