The Child Sexual Grooming Kill Chain, Introduction

The kill chain originates as a military approach to conducting attacks against targets. In one of the military models, the chain consists of find, fix, track, target, engage and assess. This concept is also used in cybersecurity by the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Its version of the kill chain consists of seven phases. The phases are reconnaissance, weaponization, delivery, exploitation, installation, command and control, and actions on objectives. Lockheed Martin developed its kill chain to help defenders in protecting computer networks. Defenders can provide specific defenses against a given part of the kill chain. The goal is to break the chain as early as possible in an attack. 

Child sexual grooming also has a kill chain. This kill chain has five phases. These phases are select, access, trust, desensitize and dominate. The methods used can vary within each phase or link on the chain. This is due to the circumstances between the victim and the abuser. This kill chain provides a simple and systematic approach to defending children from this type of sexual abuser. As in the other examples of the kill chain, our goal is to break the chain as early as possible during an attack.  

Strong fathers must be at the forefront of protecting their children from abuse. In Matthew 10:16 the LORD tells his disciples that they must be wise like serpents and harmless as doves. There is a war for our children and sexual grooming is one of many battles. The guidance that the LORD provided still applies today.  

The next blog in this series will focus on the select part of the chain. Examples of how a victim is selected and what methods are used. Additionally, real-world examples will be reviewed. Please join the discussion at the Hardheaded Father Forums.


1. Georgia M. Winters & Elizabeth L. Jeglic (2017) Stages of Sexual Grooming: Recognizing Potentially Predatory Behaviors of Child Molesters, Deviant Behavior, 38:6, 724-733, DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2016.1197656

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