The Exploitative Relationship
The manipulation or 'grooming' process involves befriending children and gaining their trust, sometimes over a long period of time, before the abuse begins.
The abusive relationship between victim and perpetrator involves an imbalance of power which limits the victim's options, and the relationship is sometimes wrongly perceived by the victim and outsiders as consensual.
Although it is true that the victim can be tricked into believing they are in a loving relationship, no child under the age of 18 can ever consent to being abused or exploited (Barnardo's 2012).
In all cases those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources.