The 5 Child Grooming Stages and Red Flag Behaviour


What is child grooming? 

Child grooming is the process of befriending and building a child’s trust with the objective of sexual abuse. Groomers endeavour to make a connection with children, either in person or online, to gain their trust so that they can then exploit them. There are various stages of child grooming and red flags to look out for.  

What are the 5 stages of child grooming? 

Identifying the child they wish to groom

Groomers will identify children who they wish to exploit based on factors including vulnerability, family dynamic etc. Predators often target children they think will be more accessible and therefore susceptible to their efforts to groom them. 

Building trust 

Building trust is a way for predators to gain access to children. After targeting a child, the groomer may observe the child to better understand their situation, assess their vulnerability and come up with a strategy to groom them. If a child has a difficult home life, predators may position themselves as a listening ear to then prey on the child’s vulnerability. 

Isolating the child 

Once the predator has gained access, they will attempt to isolate the child from their friends or family. They will often feed a child lies to create distance between the child and their network, making it easier for the groomer to exercise their power and control. 

Initiating sexual contact 

Once the predator has segregated the child from their family and friends, they may attempt to initiate sexual contact, either physically or online. For example, they may ask the child to send explicit photos or they may expose the child to indecent imagery. 

Maintaining control 

When predators have groomed a child, they will rely on the secrecy of the relationship to ensure that the child will not reveal the abuse. Children are often afraid of disclosing the abuse due to threats made by the perpetrator. 

What are behavioural red flags to look out for? 

Whilst the signs of child grooming might not always be obvious, the following list demonstrates the shared experiences of child grooming survivors: 

  • Gift giving to children to flatter them 
  • Targeting specific children for attention or activities 
  • Overly affectionate with children 
  • Slowly isolating a child from their friends/family 
  • Encouraging children to keep secrets

Claim compensation for child grooming 

Child grooming compensation claims are made through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA manages the compensation scheme for the government and they have a set of rules that determine eligibility.

If you have been subject to child grooming or know someone who has, you may be eligible to claim on behalf of someone else. Given the nature of the crime, every case is different and compensation will be reflected in this. 

To find out more about how much compensation you could receive, click here

Get in touch

Please get in touch with our team of highly-skilled solicitors to find out if you’re eligible for compensation. We will listen to your story and help get you justice. Contact us at 0151 242 5111.

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