Child sexual abuse oftentimes is preceded by a period of grooming. Grooming is a gradual process of building trust with a family, neighborhood, organization, and a child to get access. One reason child sexual abuse is still a significant issue is that grooming goes undetected or when detected, goes unaddressed. By dispelling misconceptions about groomers and people with sexually abusive behaviors prevention specialists can prepare adults to spot grooming and take protective action. Individuals can learn to center locus of control for protecting children on their own ability to identify and interrupt grooming before abuse occurs rather than counting on authorities after-the-fact. Additionally, within families and organizations, a norms shift to supporting whistleblowers is needed, given that, oftentimes those who draw attention to grooming behaviors receive negative push-back. Norms that support individuals within families and organizations to set boundaries, creating safe environments for children, are needed. Policy standards for appropriate boundaries around children must include easy, clear reporting procedures within organizations and defined repercussions for violations. These norms will assure that children will have safe environments that are free of sexual abuse and communities will have a new resilience in confronting this kind of trauma.
Participants will be able to identify grooming of individuals, families, neighborhoods, organizations and children.
Participants will understand the norms that make children’s environments susceptible to groomers.
Participants will strategize how to shift norms toward creating safe, sexual abuse-free environments for children and youth.
Marcie Hambrick has a PhD in Sociology from Georgia State University with a Family, Health, and Life Course orientation. She also holds a Master of Social Work from Florida State University, and a Bachelor of Social Work from Dalton State College. She is the Director of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention at Prevent Child Abuse Vermont. She has presented widely on topics of the intersection of housing instability and food insecurity, health care worker emotional burnout, and child sexual abuse prevention.
Dr. Hambrick’s primary focus is on implementing best practices in child sexual abuse prevention using developmentally appropriate and trauma-informed interventions that recognize adult responsibility for protecting children. She believes in programming that encompasses prevention of both victimization and perpetration.
Pronouns: she / her