Grooming is a sequence of behaviors used by a sexual predator to prepare the victim for sexual abuse. The sequence minimizes risk since early steps can be given an innocent explanation. It also makes it more exciting since it puts the predator in control.

Synonym: seduction stages


Core features: psychopathology, manipulation, control and predation


Grooming stages:

(1) targeting the victim (finding someone vulnerable and receptive to manipulation)

(2) gaining the child's trust (befriending and getting to know "the mark")

(3) filling a need (using the information learned)

(4) isolating the child (and making more vulnerable)

(5) sexualizing the interaction (perhaps through a series of steps intended to desensitize the victim to inappropriate behaviors)

(6) maintaining control and secrecy (avoiding exposure)

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