The network of contact parliamentarians heard
a Swedish expert on “grooming”

On the occasion of the 3rd meeting of the network of contact parliamentarians to stop sexual violence, on 22 June 2011, the Network of contact parliamentarians to stop sexual violence against children heard Ms Ulrika Rogland on the issue of “grooming” or solicitation of children through the Internet for sexual purposes.

Ms Rogland is public prosecutor in Malmö in Sweden. She reported on the first major “grooming” case in Sweden which she had handled from 2005-2007, the so-called “Alexandra case”, which involved a man who, pretending to be a woman, contacted a large number of young girls on the Internet. After convincing some of them to meet him, he then sexually abused them. This case, explained Ms Rogland, received significant media attention and led to a change in the Swedish law in 2009.

She added, however, that this law has had little impact to date and that there have only been a few convictions. Ms Rogland believed the reason for this is the difficulty in proving that the perpetrator had contact with the child, the purpose of the contact and where meetings had been arranged, the purpose of the meeting. There is therefore little chance to detect “grooming” crimes.

Parliamentarians noted the difficulty to prove such crimes and held an exchange of views on the ways to address the problem.