An Emeritus Professor from Bournemouth University has contributed to a new report raising awareness of financial abuse by loved ones.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Insurance and Financial Services and the Financial Vulnerability Taskforce have today launched the new report, Theft and fraud within families.
It is a common misconception that financial abuse – including theft and fraud – is inflicted by individuals or organisations at arms-length, by people largely unknown to the victim.
However, anecdotal evidence has for some time suggested that a significant amount of financial abuse is inflicted by those much closer to home, namely family members. Victims are also often reluctant to report their loved ones.
Professor Keith Brown, an Emeritus Professor at BU, who is a member of the Financial Vulnerability Taskforce and Chair of the Safeguarding Adult National Network, wrote the foreword to the report.
He said: "I have led the national research on behalf of the National Trading Standards Scams team for a number of years now and although it is clear that criminals are behind many frauds and scams and that this is an important message to get out into society, we appear to have overlooked the scale and impact of fraud and theft within families.
“I constantly keep hearing cries for help from people who believe a family member has stolen funds from another family member, however there is simply no recent research or even debate about this issue.
“We hope that this critical APPG report will be a catalyst to change this position to one where we have a better understanding of the scale and impact of this crime on families, as the first step towards tackling ‘the elephant in the room’. Only then can we move forward together to ensure it is both prevented and responded to effectively.”
The report aims to address the lack of awareness and research about this issue and calls upon all parties with a vested interest in personal finance to take action, so that the issue of fraud and theft within families can be better understood in terms of scale, type and impact. This will help the profession in providing more effective advice, support and measures to prevent this type of crime.
Craig Tracey, MP and Chair of the APPG on Insurance and Financial Services, said: "This is a call to the entire financial services sector and the health and social care sector to look far more closely at the issue of theft and fraud within families. It is both a crime and also a safeguarding issue with a massive impact on wellbeing, that we as a society have a duty to better understand in order to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”