Posted by Childlink Weekly Update
22 February 2018
Child abuse is evolving, pervasive and complex and children are vulnerable to its widespread reach in many aspects of their lives, from face-to-face interactions to those they have online. This chapter aims to review contemporary literature which outlines the vulnerabilities of children to face-to-face and online grooming as part of a process leading to child abuse and exploitation. The chapter will undertake a review of literature on two aspects of grooming: child sexual exploitation (CSE) and radicalisation. It will draw on contemporary case examples to illustrate grooming drawn from UK Serious Case Reviews (SCR) on CSE and, on radicalisation, the case of the three girls from Bethnal Green who were groomed for travel to Syria. It will then reflect on the push and pull factors of grooming to highlight the similarities between CSE and radicalisation. Moving on, the chapter will then consider how and if interactive social media simulations, linked to an innovative, preventative educational approach and designed with reference to Vygotsky’s social construction theory, have the potential to educate young people to help protect them from being groomed. The chapter will then make reference to the findings of a small pilot study which evaluated the use of this approach with young people.