Image Sharing – Sexual Exploitation and Grooming


Type of Resource


Publication Date

June 26, 2023


Harmful or inappropriate content  / Online Blackmail/ Online Bullying  / Online Grooming/ Sharing nudes and semi-nudes
Sexual exploitation and grooming are both forms of sexual abuse.
Sexual exploitation is when a young person is given money, gifts, affection and other things in exchange for sexual activity with one or more people.
Grooming is a phased or gradual process which can eventually lead to sexual exploitation. It can start with befriending and lead to exploitation. Individuals and gangs understand that a child who is isolated from their parents or alienated from their peers is much more vulnerable to their approaches. They know the greatest gift they can give a child in such circumstances is actually friendship; the feeling of belonging.
It is really important to understand the context of a child’s life. Whether they are going through a tough time, at home or at school, suffering neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse and whether they are isolated or alienated from friends. This level of understanding will help you make judgements about their potential vulnerability and how best to engage with them or intervene in an inappropriate relationship.

Understanding Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual abuse is when a young person is forced, tricked or pressurised into any sexual activity with someone else including other young people.

The facts according to the NSPCC, 2019:

Young people don’t always understand or recognise sexual abuse and may be scared or embarrassed to tell someone. They might think they are in a consensual relationship; in some cases, they may trust or love their abuser and not recognise that they are being abused.

Sexual abuse can both happen online and offline.

Sexual abuse is often thought to be physical, but this isn’t always the case

It can include physical contact and non-physical contact such as:

Physical contact:

Non-physical contact:

Understanding the signs of Sexual Exploitation and Grooming

Understanding the signs of sexual abuse

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