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Developing Resistance against Online Grooming: From Linguistic Analysis to Practice-based Interventions
Developing Resistance against Online Grooming: From Linguistic Analysis to Practice-based Interventions
Professor Nuria Lorenzo-Dus, Swansea University

Thursday 18 June, 4:30pm HKT (Zoom Seminar)

Room 7.45, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/91153791667?pwd=QkNoTU9tSjhSdUtPbHFVaXB3S1Frdz09

Meeting ID: 911 5379 1667
Password: SE Seminar


The Internet is often a positive part of children’s lives, providing learning, creative and social opportunities. Yet it can also facilitate abusive behaviours against children, including grooming for sexual abuse. Exactly how many children are affected is unknown. Nevertheless, numerous surveys offer alarming national and global figures about the increased incidence of online child sexual grooming. Victims often struggle and / or fail to tell anyone because they feel ashamed or guilty; some children may not even realise that they are being sexually groomed online for some time, given groomers’ manipulative communication. My research examines online child sexual grooming as an internet-enabled communicative process of entrapment in which an adult uses language and other semiotic modes (e.g. images) to lure a minor into sexual activities online and, sometimes, also offline. In this presentation I will discuss how linguistic analysis can help inform our knowledge of groomers’ manipulative language and, working alongside other disciplines and stakeholders, contribute to developing detection and prevention tools. I will refer to specific work undertaken by a multi-disciplinary project at Swansea University: the Developing Resistance against Online Grooming (DRaOG) Project.

Important: This presentation will contain data examples (language, not images) that, whilst selected carefully to avoid as much distress as possible, some colleagues may find upsetting. Please feel free to take a break from and / or leave the webinar space at any point if that is the case.


Nuria Lorenzo-Dus is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Swansea University, where she also serves since 2013 as Director of the Developing Resistance against Online Grooming Project. Her research expertise lies in Digital Discourse Analysis. Relevant funded projects she leads include examining ideological grooming online by extreme right and jihadist groups, profiling online sexual grooming language, exploring constructions of trust in crypto-drug markets, and analysing the language barrier to engagement in youth justice assessment interviews. Professor Lorenzo-Dus has held visiting professorships at universities in Europe, the Americas and Oceania.