“Under his spell”: victims’ perspectives of being groomed online

Helen Whittle, Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, Anthony Beech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)


The aim of this paper is to highlight key themes within the process of online grooming from the victim’s perspective. Eight adolescents who experienced online grooming were interviewed and data were analysed using Thematic Analysis. It was found that participants, who had been both sexually abused online and/or offline, were subjected to a range of grooming experiences. Consistent grooming themes within this sample included: manipulation; deception; regular/intense contact; secrecy; sexualisation; kindness and flattery; erratic temperament and nastiness; and simultaneous grooming of those close to the victim. These themes are similar to those identified by the literature surrounding grooming offline. Analysis demonstrated that once a participant was ‘enmeshed’ in the relationship with the offender, they were more likely to endure negative feelings associated with the grooming, than if the victim was not ‘enmeshed’. This paper supports the notion that grooming is a varied and non-linear process. Recommendations are made for practitioners, parents and carers, as well as suggestions for primary preventative education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-426
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2014


Dive into the research topics of '“Under his spell”: victims’ perspectives of being groomed online'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this