An investigation into online sexual grooming and abuse of children via internet technologies

Kloess, Juliane (2015). An investigation into online sexual grooming and abuse of children via internet technologies. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis investigates offences of online sexual grooming and abuse of children via Internet technologies. The literature review of online child sexual exploitation (Chapter 1) demonstrated that there is a lack of research studying this phenomenon using real-world data. This is followed by four empirical chapters (Chapters 2-5). Chapter 2 reports on a study that examined offenders’ (n = 5) modus operandi as part of sexually exploitative interactions with victims through transcripts of chat logs. Interactions were of a highly sexual nature, in which offenders used a range of manipulative strategies to engage victims. In Chapter 3, a descriptive account of the offence processes of these interactions (n = 29) is provided. Offenders employed either an indirect or a direct approach, further reflected in the types of strategies they used. Two offenders (indirect) engaged in aspects of sexual grooming; the majority of interactions by the other three offenders (direct) lacked features thereof. Chapter 4 examined victims’ (n = 22) behaviour and responses to approaches by offenders within their interactions. Most victims appeared to engage therein out of curiosity and sexual exploration/experimentation, while other victims presented with vulnerability factors (e.g., personal/psychological problems, sexual abuse experiences) that may have made them more vulnerable to contact by offenders, leading to serious offences of sexual abuse. Finally, to gain a fuller understanding of offenders’ point of view, their lived experiences of sexual grooming offences were explored through qualitative interviews (Chapter 5). Offenders employed narratives of ‘being trapped in a lie’ and ‘repenting a moral error’, through which they described the meaning they attach to these experiences. The overall discussion (Chapter 6) considers the findings of the review and research, and concludes with a discussion of limitations, implications and areas for future research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Hamilton-Giachritsis, CatherineUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare


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