Chatroom Bobs, or simply, bobs, are perpetrators of online sex abuse and other activities that take advantage of others, . Even though they are often victims of sexual abuse themselves, they usually lack an appreciation of the privacy of others. Coming from the reference to ‘Uncle Bob’, a name for a family member who sexual abused their relatives, these people will ask for things like nude photos and other things to fulfil their sexual and other physical desires. The term was first defined in the 1990s by the Netlingo dictionary as:
A nickname girls give to the kind of guy who uses the Internet primarily to hang out in chat rooms and search for photos of naked women. If he finds a pretty girl’s Web site, he will send flirty e-mail messages ad nauseum, even though he would “never in a million years” approach her F2F.
Chatroom Bobs are not always men, and can include sexually driven women to attempt to seduce people with mental illnesses or other vulnerability. The term has come to mean, more generally, anyone who uses seductive techniques in order to gain something from someone,which that person would not want to give under normal circumstances. There is the current legislation that can deal with with sexually-motivated chatroom bobs in the UK includes:
- The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – for cyberstalking, repeated cyberbullying (Official Website)
- Sexual Offences Act 2003 – for grooming, and other offences that result from ‘meet-up.’ (Our Guidance|Official Website). The Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 introduces a separate regime for Northern Ireland (Official Website).
- Obscene Publications Act 1959, makes unlawful the production and/or distribution of obscene images (i.e. child porn) (Official Website).
For help and advice on dealing with sexual abuse, please contact one of our recommended help agencies for more support.