Child grooming: Wikis

  
  

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Child grooming, in the context of this article, refers to actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, in order to lower the child's inhibitions in preparation for child sexual abuse. Child grooming is also used to lure children into sexual exploitation such as child prostitution or the production of child pornography.[1][2][3]

Contents

Overview

The deliberate actions taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child, with the intent of later having sexual contact, is known as child grooming. This involves psychological manipulation in the form of positive reinforcement, activities that are typically legal but later lead to sexual contact. This is done to gain the child's trust as well as the trust of those responsible for the child's well-being. Furthermore, research shows children are less likely to report a crime if it involves someone they know, trust, or care about. Additionally, a trusting relationship with the family means the child's parents are less likely to believe potential accusations.[4]

Child pornography images are often shown to the child as part of the child grooming process.[1][3][2]

To establish a good relationship with the child and the child’s family, a child groomer might do several things. For example, they might take an undue interest in someone else’s child, to be the child’s “special” friend to gain the child’s trust. They might give gifts or money to the child for no apparent reason (toys, dolls, etc.). They may show pornography—videos or pictures—to the child, hoping to make it easy for the child to accept such acts, thus normalizing the behavior. They may simply talk about sexual topics. These are just some of the methods a child groomer might use to gain a child's trust and affection in order to allow them to do what they want. Hugging and kissing or other physical contact, even when the child doesn’t want it, can happen. To the groomer, this is a way to get close. They might talk about problems normally discussed between adults, or at least people of the same age. Topics might include marital problems and other conflicts. They may try to gain the child’s parents’ trust by befriending them, with the goal of easy access to the child. The child groomer might look for opportunities to have time alone with the child. This can be done by offering to babysit. The groomer may invite the child for sleepovers. This gives them the opportunity to sleep in the same room or even the same bed with the child.

Child grooming over the Internet

Sexual grooming of children also occurs on the Internet. Some abusers will pose as children online and make arrangements to meet with them in person.

In 2003, MSN implemented restrictions in their chat rooms purportedly intended to help protect children from adults seeking sexual conversations with them. In 2005, Yahoo! chat rooms were investigated by the New York State attorney general's office for allowing users to create rooms whose names suggested that they were being used for this purpose. That October, Yahoo! agreed to "implement policies and procedures designed to ensure" that such rooms would not be allowed.

An organization called Perverted-Justice (known as PJ) uses PJ operatives posing as underage teens on the internet to identify potential child molesters and turn the information over to the police and the courts. The news program Dateline NBC features the recurring segment "To Catch a Predator", based on documenting such activities.

Multiple programs have been developed to help identify grooming and warn parents. The software studies chat room and other Instant messaging logs for activity that may identify grooming or other potentially suspicious activities. Some of the technologies have been adapted to social networking services and ISPs.[5]

Criminal offences

General

In its report Protection of Children Against Abuse Through New Technologies, the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention Committee addressed the emerging issues of violence against children through the use of new technologies (the issue of child pornography on the Internet is already covered by Article 9 Convention) with particular reference to grooming both through the internet and by mobile telephones.[6]

Some States have already criminalized grooming in their national legislation.

Australia

Australian Criminal Code Act 1995 section 474.26 and 474.27 prohibits the use of a "carrier service" to communicate with the intent to procure a person under the age of 16, or expose such a person to any indecent matter for the purposes of grooming.

The various states and territories have similar laws, some of which use a different age (for example the victim need only be under 18 in Queensland).

Canada

In Canada, Criminal Code section 172.1 makes it an offence to communicate with a child through a computer system for the purpose of committing a sexual offence (termed "luring a child").

United Kingdom

In England and Wales, sections 14 and 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 make it an offence to arrange a meeting with a child, for oneself or someone else, with the intent of sexually abusing the child. The meeting itself is also criminalized.[7]

The Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005 introduced a similar provision for Scotland.[8]

Thus, a crime may be committed even without the actual meeting taking place and without the child being involved in the meeting (for example, if a police officer has taken over the contact and pretends to be that child). In R v T (2005) EWCA Crim 2681, the appellant, aged 43, had pretended to befriend a nine-year-old girl, but had done very little with her before she became suspicious and reported his approaches. He had a number of previous convictions (including one for rape) and was described as a "relentless, predatory pedophile". The Court of Appeal upheld a longer than commensurate sentence of eight years' imprisonment with an extended licence period of two years.

United States

In the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 2422 makes it an offense to use interstate mail etc. to entice a minor to sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense. 18 U.S.C. § 2425 makes it an offense to transmit information about a person below the age of 16 for this purpose. Some states have additional statutes covering seducing a child online, such as the Florida law that makes "Use of a Computer to Seduce a Child" a felony (Authored by then State Senator Mark Foley, who as a Congressman authored the federal law against child grooming and resigned from office due to allegations of grooming and sexual harassment of underaged males).

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Crosson-Tower, Cynthia (2005). UNDERSTANDING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT. Allyn & Bacon. p. 208. ISBN 020540183X.  
  2. ^ a b Levesque, Roger J. R. (1999). Sexual Abuse of Children: A Human Rights Perspective. Indiana University. pp. p64. ISBN 0253334713.  
  3. ^ a b Richard Wortley, Stephen Smallbone. "Child Pornography on the Internet". Problem-Oriented Guides for Police No. 41: p14–16.  
  4. ^ Ending Offending Together
  5. ^ The 'anti-child grooming' website
  6. ^ Convention on Cybercrime
  7. ^ Act of the U.K. Parliament; Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 15
  8. ^ Act of the Scottish Parliament; Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005, 2005 asp 9.

External links


Simple English

Child grooming is a word for actions an adult takes to become friends with a child. These actions are usually taken to lower the inhibitions of the child and to prepare for sexual abuse.

Contents

Overview

The deliberate actions taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child, with the intent of later having sexual contact, is known as child grooming. The act of grooming a child sexually may include activities that are legal in and of themselves, but later lead to sexual contact. This is done to gain the child's trust as well as the trust of those responsible for the child's well-being. Furthermore, research[needs proof] has shown children are less likely to report a crime if it involves someone that the child knows, trusts, and cares about. Additionally, a trusting relationship with the family means the child's parents will be less likely to believe any potential accusations.[1]

Examples of activities sometimes used as part of child grooming

  • Taking interest in someone's child (having a "special" friend)
  • Giving gifts or money to the child for no obvious reason
  • Showing pornography to the child - this is illegal in many countries
  • Talking about sexual topics that are not age-appropriate
  • Invading the child's privacy (e.g. walking in on him/her in the bathroom)
  • Hugging, kissing, or other physical contact even when the child does not want this attention
  • Allowing the child to get away with behavior that is not right.
  • Talking to the child about problems that would normally be discussed with adults (e.g. marriage problems)[2][3][4]

Child grooming over the Internet

Sexual grooming of children also occurs on the Internet. Some abusers will pose as children online and make arrangements to meet with them in person[needs proof].

In 2003, MSN implemented restrictions in their chat rooms purportedly intended to help protect children from adults seeking sexual conversations with them. In 2005, Yahoo! chat rooms were investigated by the New York State attorney general's office for allowing users to create rooms whose names suggested that they were being used for this purpose. That October, Yahoo! agreed to "implement policies and procedures designed to ensure" that such rooms would not be allowed.[5]

An organization called Perverted-Justice (known as PJ) uses PJ operatives posing as underage teens on the internet to identify potential child molesters and turn the information over to the police and the courts. The news program Dateline NBC features the recurring segment "To Catch a Predator", based on documenting such activities.

An organization called Crisp Thinking has created a service intended to identify grooming and warn parents, allowing them to install software that studies chat room and other Instant messaging logs for activity they have determined may identify grooming or other potentially suspicious activities. It has also adapted its technology to social networking services and ISPs.[6][7][8]

Another software company in the UK has developed a program that hold as competitor to Crisp, called Sentry Parental Controls. It was launched by television personality Coleen Nolan and is supported by Mark Williams-Thomas, a leading expert in child protection.[9]

References








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