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Group localised grooming: what is it and what challenges does it pose for society and law?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date12/2013
JournalChild and Family Law Quarterly
Journal number4
Volume25
Number of pages450
Pages425
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This co-authored paper explores what group localised grooming (GLG) is and the particular difficulties it poses for society and law. We examine the features of GLG and analyse the stages of GLG and how it fits with current understandings of sexual grooming and is a part of the wider phenomenon of child and adolescent sexual abuse and exploitation (C/ASAE). We argue that although the methods used in GLG share some commonality with methods utilised in other grooming contexts, a significant difference is that it results in C/ASAE on a wider scale than the grooming that has been discussed in the academic literature until now. We then turn to consider the social and legal challenges that GLG poses. First, we examine the vulnerabilities of the victims, highlighting as a key concern the perpetrators’ targeting of particular vulnerabilities (such as being in local care) and more general adolescent vulnerabilities. We explore the construction of some adolescent girls as ‘non-ideal’ victims complicit in their own abuse, which impacted upon the response to their complaints by social workers, police officers and prosecutors. Secondly, turning to the criminal law, we consider which offences apply, whether the existing offences appropriately capture GLG, and whether they can do so prior to any consequent abuse and exploitation. Finally, in the concluding section, we offer our views on the steps that could be taken to enable society and law to tackle GLG more effectively.

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