Deconstructing Perspectives of Sexual Grooming: Implications for Theory and Practice

  • Samantha Jane Craven

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study aims to contribute to our knowledge about the under researched area of sexual grooming, first of all, by reviewing the available literature to establish a baseline of understanding and secondly by considering three different perspectives, which expanded our understanding further. In depth interviews, lasting between one hour and a total time of approximately four hours, were conducted with five adult survivors of child sexual abuse, six child sex offenders and six police officers with child protection experience. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to
analyse the interview data, which identified four main themes: vulnerability, offenders’ self grooming, entrapment and grooming shadow. These themes highlighted an ecological view, which acknowledged the multiple factors influencing an individual’s experience of childhood sexual abuse, and recognised the dynamic
nature of sexual grooming, including its apparent link between childhood experience of this phenomenon and adulthood. Attribution and perceived power were the most significant influences within the sexual grooming process. The analysis was used to develop a new definition and two models of sexual grooming, which capture the complexity of this phenomenon. These models provide a framework within which to understand sexual grooming and furthermore to communicate this understanding to a non-academic audience. The Grooming ‘Cycle’ is of particular value with regard to raising public awareness, which is an important aspect as the research has revealed that child protection can only be effective if everybody takes responsibility for it.
Date of Award2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorSarah Brown (Supervisor)

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