BB Safe | Safeguarding Culture & Compliance

BBSafe October Newsletter - spotlight on grooming, free webinar

In the context of child sexual abuse, grooming is something that many of us broadly understand…but would we actually recognise it if it was occurring? And would we know what to do about?

Grooming refers to the actions by a person to create opportunities to sexually offend against children. It can include grooming a child, protective adults around the child and entire communities, for example, sports clubs, faith communities and work teams. Establishing trust enables opportunities to be alone with child and behaviour which starts as friendly can escalate to sexualised behaviour then abuse.

It can be difficult to spot – it is hard to distinguish between a person who really loves working with kids, and someone who is grooming – though it is often clear in hindsight. And just because it is hard to recognise, doesn’t mean we should ignore it. Here is what it can look like:

  • Establishing relationships of trust within the organisational context

  • Spending time with the child’s family and friends outside of the organisational context  

  • Giving treats, gifts and special privileges 

  • Spending time with a child away from protective adults 

  • Sharing secrets and allowing or encouraging rule breaking (even ‘minor’ rule breaking) – which creates intimacy and gives leverage for secret keeping

  • Giving time and attention to individuals, including on social media.

    Escalation may look like:

  • Interrupting a child bathing or changing

  • Talking about relationships and sex with the child, exposure to sexual jokes and material

  • Touching such as hugging or tickling, escalating to sexual touching

  • Threats/rewards to the child to prevent disclosure

If we can recognise and interrupt grooming, we may be able to prevent escalation to the occurrence of abuse. 

Join us for the BBSafe free October webinar – Recognising the signs of grooming and what to do about it 
Fri 14th Oct 2022, 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm AEST
Would you and your team recognise grooming behaviour? And would you know what to do about it? We give you practical tips on this tricky subject.