The health impact of fraud

The health impact of fraud

Related Themes: Fraud, Victim care

The National Institute for Health and Care Research has funded this project to help develop research evidence on the health impact of fraud on victims. The research is being carried out by the Police Foundation in partnership with the University of Portsmouth. 

Fraud is growing rapidly and is now the most common crime type in England and Wales.  And research evidence shows that it can have a considerable impact on victims’ physical and mental health which can damage their quality of life and in some cases leave them vulnerable to repeat victimisation. However, there are large gaps in our understanding of the impact that fraud has on individuals, their support needs and how these can be identified and addressed by the police and wider public services. 

This project takes an important early step in demonstrating the health impact of fraud and victims’ needs. This includes understanding how many victims experience a health impact, how these experiences differ between victims, their lived experiences, the associated risks and support needs of victims and strategies for assessing and meeting these needs through the police and public services.  

The approach  

The research will address the following questions:  

  • How frequently do fraud victims (known to the police or other public services) experience an impact on their health and how does this vary among victims or across different categories of fraud?  
  • How does fraud impact the health of victims, what are the risks of these impacts and what kind of support will they need? 
  • What are the implications for the demand on public services, including the impact of established frameworks such as ‘vulnerabiliity’? 
  • What assessments are used by police and support services to assess the impact on a victim’s health and where are the gaps? 
  • The experiences of victims who receive support from public services. What is it like and what are the support pathways?
  • What infrastructure is in place to support fraud victims who experience an impact on their health and where are the gaps? 

The research will use a mix of methodologies. It will mainly involve interviews with victims who have had direct experience of fraud and have suffered a health impact as a result. We will also interview practitioners in the police and partner organisations who work closely with them. We will also survey victims who live in Surrey and Sussex to understand the scale, nature and distribution of the health impact, what help they receive and whether it meets their expectations. Additionally, we will analyse national crime survey data and speak to subject matter experts to help put local practice in a wider context.  


Michael Skidmore

Ruth Halkon