Examples of Grooming in Child Sexual Abuse

Man with his hand on a teenage boy's shoulder.

What is grooming?

Grooming is a tactic that predators use to sexually abuse children through manipulative behaviors. By deceiving children not to question the abuse, the perpetrator reduces their risk of getting caught. These tactics are typically used against younger children and teens. However, vulnerable adults are also at risk. Learn the warning signs of grooming to be aware of when these actions may be occurring.

What Does Grooming Look Like?

Grooming can present itself in different ways. However, typically each form of grooming follows a similar pattern:

  • Victim selection. Abusers will often look for victims and select them based on a perceived vulnerability that gives them access to the victim and isolates them. They will attempt to physically or emotionally separate victims from those protecting them. They often seek out professional positions in which they have contact with children such as working in schools or other places where children are likely to frequent.
  • Keeping secrets and developing trust. Abusers will often try to gain the trust of their victims through gifts of attention, sharing secrets, and other means to make them feel like they have a caring relationship. They will train them to keep the relationship a secret.
  • Desensitization to touch. Abusers will begin touching a victim in ways that appear to be harmless such as hugging or tickling. However, they will later escalate the touching to more sexual contact such as massages or showering together. Abusers may also show their victims pornography or discuss sexual topics with them. This is an attempt to establish or introduce them to the idea of sexual contact.

To avoid raising suspicions abusers may make their behavior seem natural. For teens who may be closer in age to the abuser, it can be tough to recognize the tactics used in grooming. Look for signs that your teen may have a relationship with an adult that may include secrecy, indicate that they are under undue influence or control, or push personal boundaries.

How Perpetrators Groom Families and the Community

Grooming also includes manipulative tactics to gain the trust of their victim’s family. They often want to create a trustworthy image and relationship with the family and community. Child and teen sexual abusers are often charming, kind, and helpful. They are least expected to commit these heinous child sex abuse acts. While most people have good intentions and are trustworthy, It's critical to be on guard that there could be some underlying dangers.

Are You a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse? We Are Here For You.

Surviving sexual abuse or sexual violence takes an enormous mental and physical toll on victims. Unfortunately, victim-blaming and fear of not being believed deter survivors from speaking out against their perpetrators. However, all hope is not lost, and survivors can get the help and support they need when they are ready to speak out. We believe you and understand how painful it can be to share your story. We know how much courage it takes to expose your perpetrator. We are here to help you navigate the legal process of filing a civil claim against your perpetrator and liable parties.

Contact Grewal Law PLLC at (888) 211-5798 to schedule a consultation.

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