Universal Journal of Psychology Vol. 1(2), pp. 59 - 71
DOI: 10.13189/ujp.2013.010206
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Victims’ Voices: The Impact of Online Grooming and Sexual Abuse


Helen C. Whittle1,2,*, Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis1, Anthony R. Beech1
1 School of Psychology, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
2 CEOP, 33, Vauxhall Bridge Road, Pimlico, London, SW1V 2WG UK

ABSTRACT

This paper reports one of the first studies to identify the impact on the victim of online grooming leading to online and/or offline sexual abuse. Eight young people (six females and two males) who had been victimised through online grooming and subsequently experienced sexual abuse online and/or offline were interviewed. Thematic Analysis was used to analyse the data. The impact of sexual abuse on the young person appears to be correlated with their level of vulnerability prior to the onset of grooming and also their experience with professionals following abuse. Most notably, those experiencing multiple long-term risk factors suffered greater negative impact after the grooming and abuse on an individual level (e.g., self-harm, depression), compared to those who had more protection. However, these individuals were also more likely to experience unsupportive and negative responses from their families. Therefore future research is required to further investigate this relationship. There is no evidence in this study to suggest that young people who are abused via the Internet suffer less harm than those who are abused offline. Based on the victim’s direct experience of the services, recommendations are given for police, ABE (Achieving Best Evidence) interviewers, educationalists, and parents and carers.

KEYWORDS
Online Grooming, Victims, Child Sexual Abuse, Abuse Impact, Vulnerability

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Helen C. Whittle , Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis , Anthony R. Beech , "Victims’ Voices: The Impact of Online Grooming and Sexual Abuse," Universal Journal of Psychology, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 59 - 71, 2013. DOI: 10.13189/ujp.2013.010206.

(b). APA Format:
Helen C. Whittle , Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis , Anthony R. Beech (2013). Victims’ Voices: The Impact of Online Grooming and Sexual Abuse. Universal Journal of Psychology, 1(2), 59 - 71. DOI: 10.13189/ujp.2013.010206.