Friendly advice on ‘mate crime’

Joseph Bulmer

Courses will show learning disabled how to spot ‘friend from foe’

PEOPLE with learning disabilities are being offered advice to help spot friend from foe.

The free courses are being run by and for the learning disabled and are aimed at preventing vulnerable people from being taken advantage of by others who call themselves “friends”.

Five volunteers have undertaken training with the ARC Safety Net Project, a Government-funded pilot project being run in North Devon to increase awareness about so-called “mate crime”.

Trainer William White said: “A friend is not a friend if they take advantage of you.”

Fellow trainer Patrick Sellick added: “Some people might use your disability and take your stuff.”

The project team has been meeting in Barnstaple for two years and has been working to raise awareness about the problem of mate crime. The team organised a march in Barnstaple during Learning Disability Week in June, which was attended by more than 150 people.

“We want to give people information and the confidence to talk about it but we don’t want to scare people,” said Sharon Luke, one of the trainers.

Courses will run for the rest of the year, and the team now wants to hear from people wanting the training. The courses will be free and people can either book on to a course or host one of their own if there is a group of them.

You can find out more about mate crime at

To book a course contact Rod Landman by email