I want to talk about the signs of child grooming that we need to be aware of as parents. As someone who was groomed and then sexually abused over a number of years ( 6 ) this is a subject that is very close to my heart.
And as a parent even closer still!
Sadly it needs to be talked about as that is how we raise awareness. Check out the picture I shared. I borrowed this from google as i thought it offered quite a clear picture.
Speaking from personal experience the Man who groomed me did buy me gifts and treated me to things I could otherwise never afford.
He did think of ways to get me away from others and in fact made me feel quite dependant on him.
He tried to take on the role of being a father figure to me. He knew my own dad wasn't around much and my grandad was away at sea. this was one of my vulnerabilities he honed in on.
He would in many ways treat me like I was older and formed an alliance with me that anything I did he wouldn't tell my nan so I could smoke, drink, take drugs etc
The sexual abuse took place over a long period of time with a gradual approach. He didn't just rape me but instead over time he was touching me, giving hugs, touching the knee and gradually this became more often in time became more inappropriate until I was raped for the first time and we all know the rest.
The child groomer is clever and the process is not rushed but there are signs we can see. Most importantly listen to your children, allow them to have a voice and that they feel they can come to you with anything without feeling that they will be dismissed, degraded or as though they are lying.
Here are the signs you of child grooming I would like you to be aware of:
- Special attention or gifts
- Isolating the child from others
- Filling needs & roles within the family
- Treating the child as if he or she is older
- Gradually crossing physical boundaries even in public
Just something I want you to think about as it is so important that we maintain an awareness to keep our children and vulnerable people safe at all times.