Grooming and Online Predators your back”
believed by adults, or have been abused before, may also be particularly vulnerable and attractive as victims.
This is because children and young people who have physical and or psychological challenges might find it more difficult to report abuse.
A groomer may also manipulate the victim by saying they “need” them.
WILL TAKING AWAY TECHNOLOGY PREVENT MY CHILD FROM BEING GROOMED? Potential victims who feel that reporting abuse or anything suspicious online will lead to their devices (both computer s and/ or mobile phones) being taken away are less likely to tell their parents/caregivers. This makes them more attractive as potential victims for the groomer and they may be sent replacement devices to carry on communicating. If a young person has been told not to engage in chat with a stranger because of the potential dangers and does it anyway, they might not tell a parent/caregiver as they do not want to get into trouble. So it’s important to keep talking to kids about the type of experiences they are having online. DO GROOMERS ISOLATE THEIR VICTIMS? Yes, they do. This is because it makes the victim more reliant on the groomer and it reduces their opportunity to talk to others about what is happening. Groomers may do this by sabotaging the victim’s friendships with peers and family members by saying: •
“Your school friends probably don’t really like you anyway, and talk behind Page 46
“Your parents don’t really care about you and how you feel. I care about you more than they do”
WILL GROOMERS BLACKMAIL THEIR VICTIMS? It’s true that groomers might use threats and blackmail to achieve compliance and control. Some common examples are threats to hurt or kill family members and pets if the victim tells someone or does not comply or threatens to tell a child’s parent their child has acted inappropriately online. DO GROOMERS EXPOSE THEIR VICTIMS TO INAPPROPRIATE AND ILLEGAL SEXUAL MATERIAL? In some cases this may occur. The exposure to inappropriate and illegal sexual material is part of the process designed to facilitate further sexual abuse and might be a crime. Some sexual material which is not illegal or age-restricted, may still be offensive, upsetting and traumatising for some people. Such materials might include: pornographic images, videos, drawings, text messages, emails, stories, sound bites and music. Some of this material will be age restricted (i.e. illegal to show or sell to those under a certain age) or illegal for all people. W I L L G R O O M E R S I N I T I AT E A RELATIONSHIP ONLINE? Some groomers will engage with a victim online. It might involve the victim engaging