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Journal Article


Lanning K. J. Interpers. Violence 2018; 33(1): 5-16.


(Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publishing)






This discussion is not intended to be a detailed analysis of the complexities and dynamics of grooming. Instead, it will focus on the evolution of the concept and the term. More than an historical narrative, however, this evolution provides valuable insight into recognizing the diverse nature of contact sex offenses against children and important differences among types of cases. In this victimization context, the term grooming generally refers to specific nonviolent techniques used by some child molesters to gain access to and control of their child victims. The techniques a child molester employs are most influenced by the relationship between the offender and the victim. Although acquaintance child molesters are sometimes violent, to avoid discovery, they tend to control their victims primarily through this seduction or grooming process. I believe the term was first used by a group of law enforcement investigators beginning in the late 1970s to describe aspects of a seduction pattern of offender behavior that was poorly understood by most professionals. The term grooming then evolved, as language does, and spread into more common usage by law enforcement, other professionals, and then by the media and laypersons. The term grooming has pretty much supplanted seduction as the term of choice for this behavior pattern. Hopefully, understanding the evolution of the concept of grooming, the diversity of cases, the need for precise and consistent definitions, and the use of nonviolent grooming techniques to access and control victims will help interveners to better respond to and evaluate cases.

Language: en


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