Grooming is when someone tries to gain a young person’s trust so that they can sexually abuse them. This can be done online or an abuser can groom a young person they know in real life. Grooming can happen over a short or long time.
It is done in such a hidden way that it is very hard to know that someone is grooming a young person. To gain their trust, someone who is grooming a young person can:
- Buy you gifts or give you money
- Give you complements
- Tell you that you are special
- Play sexualised games
- Touch you and say it was an accident
- Use sexual language or talk about sexual things
- Threaten to hurt you or someone close to you
- Blackmail you (for example saying they will show your family pictures or conversations unless you do what they ask)
- Tell you that watching pornography or looking at sexual pictures is normal and okay
- Pretend to be someone else online
- Tell you that you wanted or asked for something to happen
- Give you alcohol
- Pretend to be your friend
- Ask you to keep secrets from others
It can be very confusing, but if there is something you are uncomfortable with or unsure about, there is always someone you can talk to. You can contact RASAC, talk to a parent, teacher, CEOP, Childline, or any adult you trust.
It is NEVER the young person’s fault, even if the abuser tells them it is. It is ALWAYS the fault of the person who chooses to groom and abuse young people.