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Mate crime

Mate crime

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Mate crime can happen to anyone but children and adults with learning difficulties are especially a target. It is committed when someone ‘makes friends’ with a person but goes on to abuse or exploit that person instead. The intention of the relationship, from the point of view of the perpetrator, is therefore likely to be criminal. The perpetrator can be perceived as a carer, friend or family member but will exploit the relationship.

Mate crime may involve:

Financial abuse

  • The perpetrator might demand or ask to be lent money and then not pay it back
  • The perpetrator might misuse or borrow and not return the property of a  person
  • When the person has received their benefits and been shopping the perpetrator may visit and clear the cupboards of food and alcohol   

Physical abuse

  • The person may be kicked, punched etc. for the amusement of the perpetrator and others
  • The person may be seriously injured or ultimately the abuse may result in death

Emotional abuse 

  • The perpetrator might manipulate or mislead the person
  • The perpetrator might make them feel worthless
  • The perpetrator might call them names
  • The perpetrator might groom the person for criminal offences

Sexual abuse 

  • The person might be coerced into prostitution
  • The person might be sexually exploited by someone they think is their partner or friend
  • The person might be persuaded to perform sexual acts they do not feel comfortable with

Spot the signs    

  • There may be a change in the victim’s behaviour or appearance or have unexplained injuries
  • The victim may have had money or possessions taken from them
  • The victim has become more isolated and gained a new friend

What are the consequences?      

  • Some people may not even realise they are victims of mate crime and therefore may defend the relationship  
  • The victim may be frightened to tell someone about it and feel isolated
  • It can lead to bullying but often starts with people being ‘friends’

How to report it:

You can report mate crime online, call 101 or visit a police station.

If you'd prefer not to report it directly to Kent Police:

You can also get help and support from:

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