Working in partnership with NSPCC Cymru/Wales, this PhD will linguistically analyse victims’ own accounts of being groomed online.
Research into how the grooming process operates has until recently focused on offline contexts. Progressively, there has been a growing awareness of the need to explore how grooming operates in online spaces. To date, much of this research has focused on offender profiling. Research into the victims’ perspective of online grooming remains scarce. The research that exists tends to focus on risk and vulnerability factors, often using qualitative interview or survey methods that provide secondary, retrospective accounts.
This project will build on research that identifies online grooming as a communicative process, specifically aiming to explore how the victim/child talks about the experience of being groomed online. It is envisaged that, by exploring the under-researched topic of the victim’s perspective using hitherto under-utilised methodologies (linguistics and action research), this research will both advance understanding of online grooming communication and apply its findings to practice enhancement geared towards better prevention and, ultimately, improved protection for children.