Victim’s voices: The impact of online grooming and abuse

Helen Whittle, Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, Anthony Beech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
JournalUniversal Journal of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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