Grooming & Exploitation

What is Grooming?

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.

Anybody can be a groomer, no matter their age, gender or race. Grooming can take place over a short or long period of time – from weeks to years. Groomers may also build a relationship with the young person’s family or friends to make them seem trustworthy or authoritative.

The relationship a groomer builds can take different forms. This could be:

    • a romantic relationship
    • as a mentor
    • an authority figure
    • a dominant and persistent figure.

A groomer can use the same sites, games and apps as young people, spending time learning about a young person’s interests and use this to build a relationship with them. Children and Young People can be groomed online through:

    • social media networks
    • text messages and messaging apps, like WhatsApp
    • email
    • text, voice and video chats in forums, games and apps

If you’re worried about a child or young person and want to talk to them, the NSPCC have advice on having difficult conversations.  You can also call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000  or email



Child exploitation is the act of using a minor child for profit, labour, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage. Child exploitation often results in cruel or harmful treatment of the child, as the activities he or she may be forced to take part in can cause emotional, physical, and social problems.

The Childrens Society have lots of relevant and helpful advice on Child Exploitation: