Working in partnership with TARIAN ROCU this PhD will investigate online grooming language, focusing on offender-to-offender communication
In the past, most research into grooming processes has focused on offline grooming and the interactions between offenders and victims. Increasingly, research into online grooming communication has developed and linguists have become involved in the field. However, little research has been done on the communication between offenders online, despite the potential for improving profiling, identification, and prevention.
Using data from real interactions, this project will aim to understand the offender’s modus operandi and offending processes, as well as risk-taking practises and hierarchies in online grooming communities. Computer assisted discourse studies (CADS) methods will be employed to contribute to this under-researched area of the field by examining offender-to-offender communication separately from victim-to-offender communication. The direct impact of this research on law enforcement protocols and practice could manifest via improvements in coded-message detection, linguistic profiling of offenders, and enabling more successful infiltration of online grooming networks by undercover police.