Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking.
Children can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional.
Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age.
Many children don't understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse.
Once they have established trust, groomers will exploit the relationship by isolating the child from friends or family and making the child feel dependent on them. They will use any means of power or control to make a child believe they have no choice but to do what they want.
Groomers may introduce 'secrets' as a way to control or frighten the child. Sometimes they will blackmail the child, or make them feel ashamed or guilty, to stop them telling anyone about the abuse.
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