GROOMING & EXPLOITATION

GROOMING

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Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a young person to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking.

Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know – for example a family member, friend or professional, male or female.

Many children and young people don’t understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse.

WHAT THAT ACTUALLY MEANS?

A person will find themselves being asked or forced to do sexual things with their partner, or someone else, that they don’t want to do. They will often be told that they have no other option because they owe someone.

This could be because they have been given gifts, affection, a place to stay or because they think their partner is in trouble and that this is a way they can help them.

What does it feel like to be groomed?

IF someone is being groomed it won’t feel scary and wrong it will feel exciting and special. Grooming is a process of building trust so that a person will often feel loved and understood. They will think they have control, that they are getting what they want and that they have changed or grown up to fit in with new friends.

Generally they will feel happy and confident throughout this period, looking forward to new opportunities and potentially, experiencing new things (such as parties, drinking and drugs) for the first time and not realising they are in any danger.

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

Sexual exploitation (often referred to as Child Sexual Exploitation or CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Young people in exploitative situations and relationships receive something such as gifts, money, a place to stay or affection as a result of performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on them. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed and exploited online.

Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.

WHAT THAT ACTUALLY MEANS?

A person will find themselves being asked or forced to do sexual things with their partner, or someone else, that they don’t want to do. They will often be told that there is no other option, that they owe someone.

This could be because they have been given gifts, affection, a place to stay or because they think their partner is in trouble and that this is a way they can help them.

What does it feel like to be Sexually Exploited?

Exploitation feels completely different to grooming but is only possible once someone has been groomed to a point they are almost dependant on their abuser. They will often feel like it is normal, that it is just how a relationship works, they are in love and no-one else matters, being manipulated into believing that it is ok.

Often they will feel like they owe their abuser, that there is no going back and sometimes that they deserve it. No one deserves to be exploited. When it comes to walking away a victim will feel threatened, scared, trapped and humiliated. They might be pressured to get their friends involved and often feel that no one will believe them.