What is grooming


Grooming is a phenomenon which involves the establishment of a relationship of trust and emotional connection by an adult person towards minors.in order to manipulate, exploit or even abuse them. In some cases, minors who are victims of grooming may be subjected to sexual abuse, exploitation or human trafficking.

This behavior may take place over a short or long period of time, from weeks to years. Groomers may also establish a relationship with the child’s family or friends in order to gain trust or authority with these relatives or friends.

Types of grooming

There are different types of grooming. Minors can be groomed either online or in person or both, either by a stranger or someone they know. This could be a family member, a friend, or someone who has selected them, such as a teacher, religious leader, or sports coach.

When a child is the victim of online grooming groomers can. hide their identity by sending photos or videos of other people.. Sometimes these images may be of someone younger than them to gain the trust of a “peer”. They may target one child online or contact several children quickly and wait for their response.

The relationship the groomer establishes may take different forms, such as a romantic relationship, a mentor, an authority figure, or a persistent dominant figure. The groomer may use the same websites, games, and apps that young people use, spending time learning about the minor’s interests and using this information to establish a relationship with them. Hence the importance of protecting minors from the use of social networks.

Minors can be victims of online grooming through social networks; text messages and messaging applications, such as WhatsApp; email; text, voice and video chats in forums, games and apps….

In addition, groomers may attempt to. Isolate children from their friends and family members.making them feel dependent and giving them power and control over them. They may also use blackmail to make a child feel guilt and shame, or introduce the idea of “sharing secrets” to control, frighten and intimidate them.

It is important to keep in mind that. minors may not realize that they have been groomed.. They may have complicated feelings, such as loyalty, admiration, and love, as well as fear, distress, and confusion.

Signs that a minor is a victim of grooming.

Identifying grooming can be difficult as the signs are not always obvious and may be hidden. Older children may behave in ways that appear to be “normal” adolescent behavior, hiding underlying problems.

Some signs that a minor is being groomed may include:

-Being very secretive about how they spend their time, including when they are online.

-Having an older partner

-Having money or new things, such as clothes and cell phones, that they can’t or won’t explain

-Consuming alcohol or drugs while underage.

-Spending more or less time online or on their devices.

-Being sad, withdrawn or anxious

-Sexualized behavior, language, or understanding of sexuality that is not age-appropriate

-Spending more time away from home or disappearing for periods of time.

A child is unlikely to know they are being groomed. They may be worried or confused, and less likely to talk to a trusted adult.

What to do in the event of grooming

If a minor discloses abuse it is important to observe this:

-Listen carefully to what they are saying.

-Let them know that they have done the right thing by telling you.

-Tell them it’s not their fault

-Assure him that he will be taken seriously.

-Do not confront the alleged abuser

-Explain to the child what will be done next.

-Report what the child has told as soon as possible to his/her parents and the authorities.

Effects of grooming

Grooming can have both short- and long-term effects. The impact of grooming can last a lifetime.regardless of whether it occurred in person, online, or both. A child may have difficulty sleeping, anxiety, difficulty concentrating or coping with schoolwork. They may become withdrawn, uncommunicative, angry or distressed.

Some of the effects that being groomed can have on minors include anxiety and depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, difficulty coping with stress, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, feelings of shame and guilt, drug and alcohol problems, or problems in relationships with family, friends, and partners.

Some minors have a higher risk of being victimized of grooming, especially those who are vulnerable. Children in the care of persons other than their parents, with disabilities, or who suffer neglect in their care and/or education may be targeted by groomers. These abusers will exploit any vulnerability to increase the likelihood that the child or young person will become dependent on them and less likely to report abuse.

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