Online groomers
Profiling, policing and prevention
By Julia Davidson and Petter Gottschalk

To see sections of this book in a PDF, please click here.

The Internet has greatly facilitated the ways in which paedophiles can groom children and young people. This important book offers numerous new insights and, in the process, provides a sound conceptual approach to understanding continuing developments in:
  • characteristics of the Internet
  • how these are explored and exploited by sexual offenders to groom their victims (from the initial targeting of sites where children and young people visit online, contacting their potential victims and forming a bond, through to the abuse taking place)
  • legislation against online grooming
  • the conviction, understanding and treatment of offenders
  • preventing them from causing harm.

    "It is a useful tool as it pulls together such an enormous volume of diverse information into one place, compares different ideas, and looks at how they may work in different settings. I certainly learned a few things from sources I had never even heard of." Martin C. Calder.

    Of immense value to anyone responsible for the care or safeguarding of children and young people, it is relevant to a wide range of practitioners, policy makers, managers, trainers, lecturers, researchers, students, as well as IT and knowledge management professionals. It places examples from current technology and laws within the rapidly developing international context of online child protection; and provides policy and practice information on:
  • profiling online groomers - it discusses characteristics of the Internet relevant to online grooming; describes how offenders use the Internet to identify and communicate with potential child victims; and presents a stage model for use in the assessment of online groomers, to classify offenders in terms of seriousness over time.
  • policing online groomers, by all concerned agencies working together - it explains and analyses various approaches to: how legislation can be improved; how developments in knowledge management can help; the potentially supportive roles of information technology; and police performance management.
  • preventing online grooming offences, again by all concerned agencies working together - it introduces concepts of online sex offending prevention; describes recent initiatives to protect children online (including offender monitoring, international databases of offenders and victims, and joint efforts to trace individuals who use credit cards to access illegal sites); and presents a new approach to educational awareness and Internet safety, describing programmes to help safeguard children and young people.

  • It uses international examples to illustrate larger concepts and cases, and the difficulties involved in tackling a world-wide problem where individual countries have their own laws protecting children, but where there is no concerted law enforcement and international legislation to combat child abuse; and where there is no direct governance of the Internet by an international body to curb illegal online content and activity.

    Above all, this book demonstrates how people working in many different specialisms and countries can co-operate to help ensure children and young people remain safe online.

    Paperback. 208 pages. 978-1-905541-56-0. Published 2009. £24.95.


    Part One: Profiling Online Groomers
    Characteristics of the Internet and child abuse

    Fourteen internet characteristics
    Virtual communities
    Understanding online children
    Perspectives on child sexual abuse
    Understanding sex offender behaviour
    Stage model for online grooming offenders
    Stages of growth models
    Online grooming offence
    Stages of online offenders
    Police investigations
    Paedophile progression
    Insights into online sex offending and offenders
    Understanding online grooming
    Profiling online groomers
    Assessing internet sex offenders
    Interviews with online grooming sexual offenders
    Internet sex offenders: UK context
    Sex offenders' use of the internet
    The UK legislative context of online child sexual abuse
    The international trade in indecent images of children
    Online sexual abuse: moves to protect children
    Categorising offenders: the basis of risk assessment
    The assessment of risk in work with Internet sex offenders
    Multi-agency public protection arrangements in the UK
    Effective management of offenders: respondents' views
    Theoretical context of treatment in the UK
    Treatment approaches in work with Internet sex offenders
    Conclusion and recommendations: moving forward
    Part Two: Policing Online Groomers
    Legislative context of work with Internet sex offenders

    The case of Norwegian law
    Norwegian Supreme Court decisions
    Norwegian Courts of Appeal decisions
    Norwegian District Courts decisions
    Convicts' online grooming behaviours
    International legislation to combat child sex abuse
    Knowledge management in policing the Internet
    Interpol policing crime against children
    Cyber police
    Knowledge management in policing
    Knowledge categories
    Knowledge management systems
    Data - information - knowledge - wisdom
    Classification of information sources
    Crime analysis
    Online grooming knowledge
    Knowledge management in grooming investigations
    Knowledge workers in investigations
    Trends in arrests of online sex offenders in the United States
    How detectives work
    Detective thinking styles
    Characteristics of effective detectives
    Knowledge management technology
    Stages of growth model
    The KMT stage model
    Unified communication in knowledge management
    The case of geographic information systems
    Police performance management
    An empirical study of police investigations
    An empirical study of intelligence work
    Other performance indicators
    Performance leadership
    Part Three: Preventing Online Grooming Offences
    Approach to educational awareness and Internet safety

    Educational context of Internet safety
    The Metropolitan Police Safer Surfing Program
    Norwegian actions for awareness and safety
    Recent initiatives to protect children online
    Protecting vulnerable young people
    Initiatives in Norway
    The Norwegian red police button
    Child exploitation and online protection centre in the UK
    Information privacy concerns protective responses
    Online sex offending prevention
    Norwegian National Crime Prevention Council
    New offender treatment approaches
    Theory-based crime prevention
    Future research into online grooming
    Research interviews with online grooming sexual offenders
    Research project: understanding the process of online grooming
    Project work plan to study the process of online grooming


    Dr Julia Davidson
    is Professor of Criminology and Sociology, and Director of Social Research, at Kingston University. She is also Co-Director of the newly formed Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies. She has extensive experience of applied policy and practice research, and has directed work with young victims, serious violent and sexual offenders, criminal justice practitioners and sentencers. She is the author of Child Sexual Abuse: Media Representations and Government Reactions (Routledge, 2008).

    Dr Petter Gottschalk is Professor of Information Systems and Knowledge Management at the Norwegian School of Management. He teaches Knowledge Management in Law Enforcement and Organized Crime in the Norwegian Police University College, and has been managing director of several business enterprises including ABB Data Cables and the Norwegian Computing Centre. He is the co-author of Knowledge Management in Policing and Law Enforcement (OUP, 2007), and is the author of Entrepreneurship and Organized Crime - Entrepreneurs in Illegal Business (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009) and Policing Organized Crime: Intelligence Strategy Implementation (Taylor & Francis, 2010).