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Minerva Pediatrica 2020 May 15

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.20.05621-2


language: English

The online sexual offender: what we know to date

Gabriele DEL CASTILLO, Cecilia E. GANDOLFI, Marco MOSILLO, Giovanni FORNI, Anna PIETRONIGRO, Navpreet TIWANA, Alberto PELLAI

1 Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Postgraduate School in Public Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; 2 Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy


INTRODUCTION: Online grooming is an active communicative entrapment network involving a wide range of techniques. The interactions that groomers have with minors online are complex. The purpose of the present literature review is to contribute to the existing knowledge base regarding online sex offender typologies, predatory tactics and techniques.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: We conducted a review of the current literature by an initial database research of papers published since 1990. Three independent reviewers selected relevant articles, initially based on title and abstract analysis, then by full text in order to make a final determination. After the final selection, a total of 21 articles were reviewed.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Overall, abundant data describing both groomer characteristics and grooming strategies are available in the literature, with authors attempting to analyze and adapt these to ever-complex models. However, the various models often feel redundant, determining a certain difficulty in understanding which would be the most suitable model to apply, making comparing data from different studies oftentimes troublesome.
CONCLUSIONS: In our opinion, it would be desirable to reach a consensus on fewer univocally- interpretable models that would be easier to adopt as preventive tools against online grooming, in combination with other strategies. The present study may provide parents and guardians with information useful for keeping their youth safer while online, as well as data that may assist in the development of policy recommendations and prevention strategies, overall aiming to reduce the phenomenon of online grooming.

KEY WORDS: Grooming online; Groomers; Grooming strategies; Sexual abuse; Sexual offenders

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