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Becoming cuckooed: conceptualising the relationship between disability, home takeovers and criminal exploitation

Macdonald, Stephen J. and Donovan, Catherine and Clayton, John and Husband, Marc (2022) 'Becoming cuckooed: conceptualising the relationship between disability, home takeovers and criminal exploitation.', Disability and Society .


This article explores the phenomenon whereby disabled people’s homes are being occupied (i.e. cuckooed) by local perpetrators and/or county lines organised criminal groups. This study employs a qualitative biographical methodology that collects data from disabled people who have been victimised this way and practitioners who have worked with them. The findings illustrate that social isolation, loneliness and a lack of community services can create a space where the exploitation of disabled people can flourish. We conclude by demonstrating that cuckooing predominantly occurs at a local level, perpetrated by local people, rather than by county lines organised criminal groups; that, in fact, local cuckooing can predate county lines takeovers.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
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Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Publisher statement:This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date accepted:22 April 2022
Date deposited:12 May 2022
Date of first online publication:04 May 2022
Date first made open access:24 August 2022

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