Sexual Grooming

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has a long list of unlawful sexual behaviors involving minors. Engaging in any type of sexual contact or sex acts with children is criminal behavior. Unfortunately, many of the sex crimes committed against children begin with a process of grooming.

A Miami Herald white paper on child sexual abuse in Florida explains that: “Sexual predators put their victims through a grooming process, and gradually build up from small instances of abuse to large ones.”

Grooming activities and behaviors can include, but are not limited to, isolating a child from other people; providing gifts to the child and paying special attention to the child; treating the child as if the child were an adult; and filling needs that the child has or roles within the family structure that the child is lacking.

As the child is groomed, an abuser gradually crosses physical boundaries and moves towards increasingly sexual behaviors. Control over the child is often maintained using threats and secrecy.

The grooming process can be a lengthy process that occurs over a long period of time. In many situations, a person who is grooming a child is someone who has been placed into a position of trust. Examples could include coaches or religious leaders. If an organization is negligent in not noticing and stopping the grooming behavior occurring by its employees, that organization could potentially be held civilly liable for the sexual abuse the child endures.

A victim of abuse should consult with a Florida child sex abuse attorney for assistance in determining if a claim can be made against an organization for allowing grooming that resulted in sexually abusive behavior.