Online Grooming – Knowing the Signs

News April 2022

April is SAAM  awareness month.

 SAAM 2022 campaign continues to build on this vision with a call to action: “Building Safe Online Spaces Together.”

We know that we can build and are building online communities centred on respect, inclusion, and safety — where harassment, assault, and abuse are taken seriously. Not only do we believe that together we can build a safer online world, but we also believe that these values, skills, and actions will create communities that thrive online and offline.

Together we can make a difference to build inclusive, safe, and respectful online spaces. We invite you to join us this April in making respect the norm everywhere, taking action to promote the safety of others, and showing survivors they are believed and supported.

When: Tuesday 5th April 2022

Event info: www.nsvrc.org/saam

Online Grooming – knowing the signs

Any child could become a victim of online grooming. However, as parents and care givers, we can take actions to avoid, confront and address this serious crime.

What exactly is grooming?

Grooming is the process of building a trusting relationship with a child or young person in order to sexually abuse them. This can happen, in person, online or a combination of the two.
It’s possible that the abuser is a stranger or someone the child knows.
Some abusers spend a long time grooming their victims, while others move quickly.
Abusers might be of any age or come from any background. They could target either girls or boys, teenagers or young children.
They could use their true name or pretend to be someone else.
Online abusers might persuade, trick or threaten children into sending sexual pictures or videos or meeting up in person.

Why don’t Kids Speak Up?

Abusers coerce children into remaining silent. It’s possible that children will remain silent because

  • They mistakenly believe the groomer is a buddy, partner, or girlfriend.
  • They take pleasure in the attention at first, unaware that there is a negative aspect to it.
  • They are concerned that their parents will punish them, such as by taking away their technology.
  • they are ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, scared or afraid.

What are the signs that something is wrong?

  • isolating oneself from friends or family
  • using devices in secret or refusing to discuss what’s going on online
  • altering their online behaviours, such as spending more time online
  • Mood swings, such as worry, despair, anxiety, anger, or rage
  • money, presents, gaming credits, or e-vouchers that aren’t explained
  • difficulties at school
  • abandoning hobbies that they use to enjoy
  • using inappropriate sexual language or behaviours.

If a child has been groomed, what should you do?

  • Reassure the child that you’re glad you found out and they are not to blame.
  • Report it. For guidelines, see the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. If someone is in immediate danger, always call triple zero (000).
  • Get expert advice about how to preserve the evidence. (Saving intimate images of children, even as evidence, can be illegal.)
  • Get help from a trusted GP, school wellbeing team, sexual assault counselling service, or a helpline such as Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800, AccessLine 1800 800 944, 1800 RESPECT

Centacare offers sexual assult for Children and Adolescents click to get in touch CASAC

Want to know more?
If you would like to know more about this story; or would like to submit an idea for an upcoming story, please get in touch.

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