05/09/16 What Is ‘Grooming’?
Due to the importance of this e-Lesson, we’ve decided to share it both as an e-Lesson and as an e-Legal Lesson.
We always knew grooming referred to the things that you do to make your appearance clean and neat, for example brushing your hair, or the things that you do to keep an animal’s hair or fur clean and neat.
Today, it also means something different.
GROOMING refers to the criminal activity of becoming friends with a child, especially over the internet, in order to try to persuade the child to have a sexual relationship.
Grooming is a word used to describe how people who want to sexually harm children and young people get close to them, and often their families, and gain their trust. Grooming in the real world can take place in all kinds of places – in the home or local neighbourhood, the child’s school, youth and sports clubs or the church.
Online grooming may occur by people forming relationships with children and pretending to be their friend. They do this by finding out information about their potential victim and trying to establish the likelihood of the child telling. They try to find out as much as they can about the child’s family and social networks and, if they think it is ‘safe enough’, will then try to isolate their victim and may use flattery and promises of gifts, or threats and intimidation in order to achieve some control.
It is easy for ‘groomers’ to find child victims online. They generally use chatrooms which are focussed around young people’s interests. They often pretend to be younger and may even change their gender. Many give a false physical description of themselves which may bear no resemblance to their real appearance – some send pictures of other people, pretending that it is them. Groomers may also seek out potential victims by looking through personal websites such as social networking sites.
Tomorrow we’ll share a few tips on how to keep your children safe online.