What is grooming?

Grooming is when someone builds, or uses an existing emotional connection with a child to gain or exploit their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking. Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know – for example a family member, friend or professional. Many children and young people don’t understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse. (NSPCC)

The abuser will try to be seen as trustworthy by families and communities, to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to believe they might hurt someone. This is often part of their grooming process.