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Child grooming, in the context of this article, refers to actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing emotional control over a child, in order to lower the child's inhibitions in preparation to sexually abuse or rape the child.

Other uses

The phrase 'child grooming' can also mean preparing a child for a future activity or role outside of a sexual context. This can include educating the child with age-appropriate information, ensuring the child knows how to behave in a social setting as well as other benign activities essential for normal child development. This definition is outside of the context of this article.


The deliberate actions taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child, with the intent of later having sexual contact is known as child grooming. The act of grooming a child sexually may include activities that are legal in and of themselves, but later lead to sexual contact. Typically, this is done to gain the child's trust as well as the trust of other adults in the child's life. Furthermore, research [How to reference and link to summary or text] has shown children are less likely to report a crime if it involves someone that the he or she knows, trusts, and cares about. Additionally, a trusting relationship with the family means the child's parents will be less likely to believe any potential accusations. [1]

Examples of grooming activities

  • Taking an undue interest in someone's child. (having a "special" friend)
  • Giving gifts or money to the child for seemingly no apparent reason.
  • Taking the child on outings, away from protective adults.
  • Showing pornography to the child. (illegal in some jurisdictions)
  • Talking about sexual topics that are not age-appropriate.
  • Invading the child's privacy. (i.e. walking in on him/her in the bathroom)
  • Hugging, kissing, or other physical contact even when the child does not want this attention.
  • Allowing the child to get away with inappropriate behavior.
  • Talking to the child about problems that would normally be discussed with adults. (i.e. marital problems)[2][3][4]

Child grooming over the Internet

Sexual grooming of children also occurs on the Internet. Some abusers will pose as children online and make arrangements to meet with them in person. According to a 2003 New Zealand study, 23% of 7-10 year olds and 37% of those 16 or older reported meeting someone face to face that they met over the Internet. [5]

In 2003, MSN implemented restrictions in their chat rooms to help protect children from adults seeking sexual conversations with them. In 2005, Yahoo! chat rooms were investigated by the New York State attorney general's office for allowing users to create rooms whose names suggested that they were being used for this purpose. That October, Yahoo! agreed to "implement policies and procedures designed to ensure" that such rooms would not be allowed.[6]

Criminal offences


In its report, Protection of Children Against Abuse Through New Technologies, the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention Committee [1] addressed the emerging issues of violence against children through the use of new technologies (the issue of child pornography on the Internet is already covered by Article 9 Convention) with particular reference to grooming both through the internet and by mobile telephones.

Some States have already criminalized grooming in their national legislation.


Australian Criminal Code section 218A prohibits the use of electronic communication with the intent to procure a person under the age of 16, or expose such a person to any indecent matter.


In Canada, Criminal Code section 172.1 makes it an offence to communicate with a child through a computer system for the purpose of committing a sexual offence (termed "luring a child").

United Kingdom

In England and Wales, sections 14 and 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 make it an offence to arrange a meeting with a child, for oneself or someone else, with the intent of sexually abusing the child. The meeting itself is also criminalized.[7]

The Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005[8] introduced similar provision for Scotland.

Thus, a crime may be committed even without the actual meeting taking place and without the child being involved in the meeting (for example, if a police officer has taken over the contact and pretends to be that child). In R v T (2005) EWCA Crim 2681, the appellant, aged 43, had pretended to befriend a nine-year-old girl, but had done very little with her before she became suspicious and reported his approaches. He had a number of previous convictions (including one for rape) and was described as a "relentless, predatory paedophile". The Court of Appeal upheld a longer than commensurate sentence of eight years' imprisonment with an extended licence period of two years.

United States

In the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 2425

makes it an offense to transmit information about a person below the age of 18 for the purpose of committing a sexual offense. Some states have additional statutes covering seducing a child online, such as the Florida law that makes  "Use of a Computer to Seduce a Child" a felony.


See also

External links

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