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‘Setting ’Em Up’: Personal, Familial and Institutional Grooming in the Sexual Abuse of Children

‘Setting ’Em Up’: Personal, Familial and Institutional Grooming in the Sexual Abuse of Children The term ‘grooming’ has been used to describe theoffender’s actions during the preparatory stage of sexual abuse. Thisarticle will argue that current discourses on grooming have created ambiguities andmisunderstandings about child sexual abuse. In particular, the popular focus on‘stranger danger’ belies the fact that the majority of childrenare abused by someone well known to them, where grooming can also occur. Currentdiscourses also neglect other important facets of the sex offending pattern. Theyfail to consider that offenders may groom not only the child but also their familyand even the local community who may act as the gatekeepers of access. They alsoignore what can be termed ‘institutional grooming’ - that sexoffenders may groom criminal justice and other institutions into believing that theypresent no risk to children. A key variable in the grooming process is the creationand subsequent abuse of trust. Given that the criminal law may be somewhat limitedin its response to this type of behaviour, ultimately concerted efforts must be madeto foster social and organizational awareness of such processes in order to reducethe offender’s opportunity for abuse. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social & Legal Studies: An International Journal SAGE

‘Setting ’Em Up’: Personal, Familial and Institutional Grooming in the Sexual Abuse of Children

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References (108)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0964-6639
eISSN
1461-7390
DOI
10.1177/0964663906066613
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The term ‘grooming’ has been used to describe theoffender’s actions during the preparatory stage of sexual abuse. Thisarticle will argue that current discourses on grooming have created ambiguities andmisunderstandings about child sexual abuse. In particular, the popular focus on‘stranger danger’ belies the fact that the majority of childrenare abused by someone well known to them, where grooming can also occur. Currentdiscourses also neglect other important facets of the sex offending pattern. Theyfail to consider that offenders may groom not only the child but also their familyand even the local community who may act as the gatekeepers of access. They alsoignore what can be termed ‘institutional grooming’ - that sexoffenders may groom criminal justice and other institutions into believing that theypresent no risk to children. A key variable in the grooming process is the creationand subsequent abuse of trust. Given that the criminal law may be somewhat limitedin its response to this type of behaviour, ultimately concerted efforts must be madeto foster social and organizational awareness of such processes in order to reducethe offender’s opportunity for abuse.

Journal

Social & Legal Studies: An International JournalSAGE

Published: Sep 1, 2006

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