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Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS) Child Internet Safety Event. Internet Grooming - Understanding Offender Behaviour and Protecting Young People House of Lords 26 th March 2010. Centre for Abuse & Trauma Studies www.cats-rp.org.uk.
Child Internet Safety Event
Internet Grooming - Understanding Offender Behaviour and Protecting Young People
House of Lords
26th March 2010
New centre is collaborative venture between Kingston University & Royal Holloway, University of London
Profs Davidson (Criminology) & Bifulco (Health and Social care) are the Co-Directors
CATS aims to incorporate research and practice into a broad range of abuse issues.
Focus on victims, offenders and legal issues.
Focus on research findings and practice applications in criminal justice, social work and health settings.
Evaluation community sex offender programmes & Comparison sex offender & victim accounts of offence circumstance Funder: National Probation Service & Home office (2001) Davidson
Evaluation Metropolitan Police Safer Surfing internet safety programme (2005) Funders: Metropolitan Police Authority & Crime-stoppers with Lord Ashcroft Davidson
Young People’s online experience - CEOP and national Audit Office (2009)
Practice implications – developing training courses on internet safety for CJS practitioners
Putting children at the centre of police practice. Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Command.
Evaluating the use of the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA) interview in Child Safeguarding Services. (Kingston Safeguarding Services).
Evaluating attachment in abused young people in residential care St Christopher’s Fellowship
New research planned
To examine specific effects of internet abuse on victims
Training on abuse assessment tools for practitioners in health and social careCATS and victim researchToni Bifulco
Stephen Webster (NatCen, UK)
Prof Julia Davidson (KU, UK)
Prof Antonia Bifulco (RHUL, UK)
Petter Gottschalk (BI Norwegian School Management)
Prof Thierry Pham (University Mons-Hainault, Belgium)
Prof Vincenzo Caretti (University Palermo, Italy)
Largest study of online grooming to date
to understand the different ways sexual offenders approach, communicate and ‘groom’ young people online
to empower policy makers, front line professionals, teachers, carers and young people to effectively manage online risks
Co-funded by the European Union, through the Safer Internet Plus Programme. Running from June 2009 to December 2011
Two broad ‘types’ of groomer are hypothesised: targeted and opportunistic
Offender maintenance appears to run concurrently with phases and encompasses:
cognitive distortions; time on offender forums; indecent image collections
Groomers appear to pass through the phases in minutes, hours or days – process does appear to have speeded up
A nine phase model of grooming behaviour in development
Scoping report April 2010, Webster, Davidson, Bifulco, Gottschalk, Caretti, Pham
& Grove-Hills, European Commission Safer Internet Plus Programme.
If he hopes to communicate, he’s got to speak the same lingo. If they don’t communicate the same way, if the groomer isn’t familiar with the language the kid uses, it just isn’t going to happen (Belgium, SH3 police)Stakeholder quotes
I want to understand how online grooming activity is connected to other kinds of risk activities and offensive activities and what are the underlying dynamics in the grooming process as such, what part of the grooming process is different in the big picture. As a therapist I’m concerned with the underlying motivation. What is it that propels these people to commit these acts? If we want to help them and avoid abuse in future, we need to understand this. (Norway SH4 – Treatment Provider)Grooming – planned behaviour
Role-play – ‘it’s not really me online; I was certain that it was another man messing about; I would never actually force myself on a child.’
Sexual Children – ‘the young person is not saying no; they could have stopped it if they wanted to; young people online would not talk as they do if they did not want sexual contact’.
Educational – ‘I’m teaching them about sex’.Groomer cognitive distortions
…it blows my mind to know that there are more and more young girls out there who know they’re chatting with a grown man. Paedophiles need to hide their age less and less, it’s becoming less and less necessary for them to say they’re 12 years old; they might say they’re 39 instead of 45. More and more, young girls are chatting with grown men even if they know that they’re way older than them. (Belgium, SH3 police)’
…..they are thinking, ‘I am sitting here in my bedroom, what can possibly go wrong’ (UK, SH5, young person specialist)
……..they appreciated being taken serious, they (the online groomers) give them compliments that they are grown up, so the child will get confirmation of being somebody and a grown up (Norway, SH1, young people expert)Stakeholder Quotes- victim behaviour
30 interviews in the UK, conducted by a small, experienced team of NatCen researchers and 15 interviews conducted by partners in European centres
Interviews will explore the behaviour of online groomers in detail, including any variation in actions according to their background and the demographics and responses of different young people
Interviews aim to develop explanations for different types of grooming behaviours presented in the model
Final stage - Holding workshops in schools for teachers and parents to inform about findings and key messages re internet grooming, both in UK and in partner countries.