Spotlight on Cuckooing

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Walthom Forest

November 2021: Spotlight on Cuckooing

This newsletter is brought to you by the Strategic Partnership Boards comprising Waltham Forest Safeguarding Children’s Board, Safeguarding Adults Board, Health & Wellbeing Board and SafetyNet (our Community Safety Partnership). It’s aimed at everyone working with children and adults who live in Waltham Forest. Please share with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up to get it regularly.

Safeguarding Adults Week 2021 starts next week - 15 to 20 November - we invite you all to join in the free training which will be taking place throughout the week!

More details at the bottom of this newsletter.

What is cuckooing?


Who are victims of cuckooing?

Victims are vulnerable individuals (often drug users) but can include people who are:

  • Older
  • Living with a mental or physical health condition
  • Living with a learning disability
  • Involved in prostitution
  • Single parents
  • Experiencing poverty
  • Isolated
  • Living with forms of addiction, such as alcoholism

A vulnerable person who is being cuckooed might:

  • Have stopped engaging with support services
  • Present with unexplained injuries
  • Have debts paid off (including housing debts) in full and in cash
  • Have started misusing substances or increased their misuse of substances 
  • Appear withdrawn and fearful of disclosing information for fear of 'betraying' the criminals, abuse or eviction 
  • Associate with new unidentified people who are often present at the home 
  • Change appearance either wearing expensive clothing or start appearing unkempt 

The following are signs that a property may have been taken over for the purpose of criminal activity:

  • Increase of vehicles stopping at the property, often for short periods
  • Increase of anti-social behaviour around the property
  • Open drug-dealing near the property
  • Not seeing the resident of the property as often
  • Increase of the number of people coming and going at various times of the day or night

Referral pathways for cuckooing

cuckooing referral

How to refer?

All referrals are to be reported through the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Call 0208496300 or email

All referrals are risk-assessed, at which point a joint problem-solving approach is applied.

Cases that present significant safeguarding risks will be referred to the Anti Social Behaviour Risk Assessment Conference (ASBRAC), which co-ordinates a multi-agency response to anti-social behaviour, manages risk and identifies solutions.

This is why it is important to:

• Identify cuckooing as early as possible by recognising the signs
• Support a community response
• Ensure the nature of victim is recognised
• Keep inter-agency sharing of information and cooperation consistent throughout

In other news....

Join in FREE training during Safeguarding Adults Week 2021:

15 Nov, 2 to 3.30pm: Drugs, Alcohol and the MCA: assessing fluctuating mental capacity

16 Nov, 3 to 4pm: Hoarding: identifying fire risk, self-neglect and assessing mental capacity

17 Nov, 1.30 to 4.30pm: Training around Making Every Contact Count

18 Nov, 2 to 3pm: Safeguarding and DBS: filling the gaps

Learning about substance abuse in Waltham Forest:

23 November, 3 to 4pm: 'Chemsex: A Guide for Professionals', an online training session to mark World Aids Day (contact for your FREE place today)

Become a substance misuse champion:

Change Grow Live (CGL), Waltham Forest's drug & alcohol treatment service, is looking for candidates to become Substance Misuse (SM) Champions.

If you have a real passion and interest in helping to improve the lives of those impacted by substance misuse and want to get involved in supporting new initiatives to improve treatment pathways, why not lend your experience and join the forum?

The SM champions meet on the first Monday of every month at 1.30pm for approximately an hour via Microsoft Teams.

For further information, email or call 07780 172 824.


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