The national center for Victims of Crime states the perpetrators may use grooming behaviors to gain the trust of a child and their guardians in order to gain access to a victim and create a relationship that is grounded in secrecy to lessen the chance of disclosure.  Although any one sign may not indicate a grooming pattern, it is important for adults in our community to recognize these behaviors if they are happening.

The Grooming Process
Can Include:

A potential perpetrator may seek out opportunities to be around children in order to identify a vulnerable victim.

A relationship is created allowing the perpetrator to act as a trusting, caring and safe adult. Gaining trust may mean that the perpetrator is getting to know what the child likes, giving the child extra special attention or gifts. They may also seek out opportunities to gain the trust of the family.

A potential perpetrator will seek out opportunity to be alone with a child.  This could include offering to babysit, giving rides to the child, or simply spending time in another room where there aren’t other children and adults present.

The touching may start out as seemingly playful. Roughhousing and wrestling with a child may be a way for a perpetrator to introduce touch.  The touching may turn into “accidental” touching that is not overtly sexual.  Gradually, the touching can be more and more sexualized.