Our Community Domestic Violence Team received a referral from Adult Social Care for a 42 year old vulnerable man with Learning Difficulties.
He was financially comfortable. He had a full time job and had inherited a substantial amount of money.
He was really keen to have a relationship and had expressed this to his Social Worker. However, due to his vulnerabilities there was a concern as to how he would achieve this. He had recently met with a sex worker and he became attached to her describing her as his girlfriend. They started a relationship immediately and she moved herself and a couple of associates into his house. They took over his property and used it as a drug house. They used him and manipulated money from him. They took in the region of £10,000 from his savings. They used him to taxi them about and they would take his car and use it illegally. She took a number of items from him, including phones and other items of value. She convinced him to carry his flat screen television from his house to the car so they could sell it. She told him she was pregnant to manipulate even more money from him.
The Community Team visited him with his Social Worker to discuss his support needs. We linked in with her Probation Officer to see if any restrictions could be placed on her. She was re-called to prison but this was only for a short period. A Cocoon Watch was put in place and the neighbours were extremely supportive of him, recognising his vulnerabilities and the nature of his relationship with these people. It would often be the neighbours that contacted the police when they thought he was in trouble. He was spoken to about obtaining a Non Molestation Order but he chose not to pursue this, still struggling to understand that this was not a healthy relationship and that she wasn’t a good example of what a girlfriend should be like with him.
It took a lot of time and many discussions with a DV Practitioner and the Social Worker before he recognised that this was not a healthy relationship. He was supported with work around staying safe and healthy relationships. Resources were obtained from our Prevention and Recovery Service and adapted in to picture formats so that he could understand. We compiled a list of all the positive and negative things about his relationship with her to help him see and understand the abuse.
With the support of the Social Worker, we supported him to look for a more appropriate dating website for adults with disabilities. We managed to find one that is regularly scrutinised at a high level to ensure that all users are genuine.
On the last visit with him, he looked really well in his appearance. He told us that he has not seen anything of her for some time. He could not elaborate on how long this was but he stated definitely over a couple of weeks maybe a month or more. He told us he feels much happier and recognised that he had more money now she was not around.
The Social Worker also informed him that she had now moved onto someone new and that the person in question was also now being safeguarded. He did seem to recognise at that point, a pattern in her behaviour and felt sorry for the new person it was happening to.
We revisited the safety plan that had been put in place and he knew what to do if she approached him again.