What is grooming?
Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people who are groomed can be sexually abused, exploited or trafficked.
Anybody can be a groomer, no matter their age, gender or race. Grooming can take place over a short or long period of time – from weeks to years. Groomers may also build a relationship with the young person’s family or friends to make them seem trustworthy or authoritative.
Types of Grooming
Children and young people can be groomed online, in person or both – by a stranger or someone they know. This could be a family member, a friend or someone who has targeted them – like a teacher, faith group leader or sports coach. When a child is groomed online, groomers may hide who they are by sending photos or videos of other people. Sometimes this’ll be of someone younger than them to gain the trust of a “peer”. They might target one child online or contact lots of children very quickly and wait for them to respond.
Signs of Grooming
It can be difficult to tell if a child or adult is being groomed – the signs aren’t always obvious and may be hidden. Older children might behave in a way that seems to be “normal” teenage behaviour, masking underlying problems. Groomers might also try and isolate children from their friends and family, making them feel dependent on them and giving the groomer power and control over them. They might use blackmail that results in a child or adult feeling guilty and / or shame, or introduce the idea of ‘secrets’ to control, frighten and intimidate them.
For more information, click on any one of these links:
Please remember, if you feel you are at risk or experiencing this type of abuse, don’t feel on your own, you can contact us on 0330 0881 339. This number will take you through to our Telephone triage team, where we will listen and help you. Alternatively, you can contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the Contact Victim Gateway Link.