National Centre for Domestic Violence Logo

Please note that Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser so we cannot guarantee the integrity of our website when using it. Please use an alternate browser like Edge or Chrome.

Access ASSIST Online Injunction Database

Click here to leave training feedback


Make a Referral Using the Form Below:


    *Fields required. By submitting a referral you agree to receive updates on the progress of your referral, as outlined in our Privacy Policy.

    LOVE BOMBING – The Ultimate Grooming Technique

    Reading Time: 4 minutes

    LOVE BOMBING – The Ultimate Grooming Technique


    What is Love Bombing?

     Love Bombing is a grooming technique. It involves being overly affectionate and showering someone with attention and compliments. This might take the form of grand gestures like expensive gifts, or saying “I love you” and talking about marriage and children early in the relationship. It is flattering, even intoxicating – it can also be deadly.

    It can happen to anyone, men or women. It often happens at the start of a relationship in order to draw us in, or it can be used after an argument or act of cruelty when the Love Bomber wants forgiveness. It is designed to overwhelm us and break down our barriers and doubts. After all, someone capable of so much love can’t be that bad, right? It makes us believe we are special, drawing us into the fantasy that this whirlwind romance is unique; that we are “meant” to be together. It can be particularly enticing for someone who has been let down in the past, or who feels they have gone unnoticed in the world, or for those who feel they didn’t experience enough love and validation as children.

    When we feel flattered and validated, our brain produces a hit of dopamine. It’s a feel-good hormone, the same chemical that’s released when we have sex or eat a chocolate cookie. It’s also the chemical that makes drugs like heroin, nicotine and cocaine highly addictive. We can get used to these regular dopamine hits alarmingly quickly. This can lead us to becoming emotionally dependent without even realising.

    We might not see anything wrong with Love Bombing. We might think we’ve found someone who appreciates us and makes us happy. Friends and family might like the Love Bomber and be glad that someone is treating us right. This is complicated further by the fact that not everyone who showers a partner with attention ends up being abusive. But Love Bombing is defined by the fact that it is used as a tactic, with a clear agenda.

    Tactical Love Bombing is based on:

    Grooming and Exploitation: We might have something the Love Bomber wants, such as sex, money, a nice home, a ready-made family, or status. This is the same behaviour we see in cases of Child Sexual Exploitation.

    Just to see if they can: The Love Bomber might be excited by the challenge, especially if we have voiced doubts or made it clear we don’t want a serious relationship. When they have finally broken down our barriers and sucked us into an intense connection, they may get bored and suddenly end things or ghost us.

    Power & control: The Love Bomber may be exerting their power at an early stage by overwhelming us and encouraging us to fall madly in love with them. This makes us more compliant because we don’t want to lose the relationship.

    Risks and Red Flags

    Love Bombing comes with warnings and red flags which everyone should be aware of. In a healthy relationship two people take the time to get to know each other and build up mutual trust and respect, but Love Bombers speed things up and it feels like a ride in a fast jet. Some people find themselves living with, married to, or expecting a child with a Love Bomber before they’ve had time to think. It’s then more difficult to get out of the situation when their true colours show.

    Although it might be flattering at first, we soon realise our time is being monopolised, but when we try to reclaim some autonomy, privacy, or space for our own interests, this is viewed as hurtful, even a betrayal. The Love Bomber expresses confusion, sulkiness or anger. They blame us for being cold and distant, or not wanting to spend time with them. This might be the first real disagreement and because we believed ourselves to be blissfully happy, it comes as a big shock. But because we are now emotionally dependent, it is too easy to apologise and comply.

    Impact of Love Bombing

     Love Bombing causes harm in a number of ways:

    A Love Bomber may abruptly disappear from our lives and the lives of our children, when only yesterday they were talking about a happy future. This creates a sense of sudden loss, despair and an urgent desire for reasons and closure. We might spend months, even years, wondering what we did wrong. This can result in a loss of self-esteem, or trust and abandonment issues.

    If we start to give in to the Love Bomber, spending more and more of our time with them to the exclusion of friends and family, it can lead to the next step in the game of power and control – isolation.

    Our best defence against Love Bombers is to keep our heads. Flattery, attention, gifts – these are lovely things to receive, but if it becomes intense, repetitive and prolonged we should ask ourselves if there’s an agenda at play. It’s worth remembering that not only romantic partners use Love Bombing tactics. Bosses, family, friends or others can use flattery to get what they want.

    Take the time to get to know someone properly before making any rash commitments, and remember that we can give ourselves time, attention and gifts, because if we give ourselves enough love, we are less likely to fall victim. It’s better to get a hit of dopamine from a chocolate cookie than from the lies and manipulation of a Love Bomber.


    Charlotte Woodward

    National Training Manager

    Share This Article

    Reading Time: 2 minutes
    Reading Time: 2 minutes
    Reading Time: 2 minutes

    By Fiona Bawden, Times Online (8th May 2007)

    “Steve Connor, a student at City Law School, is a man on a mission. Six years ago he was a fairly directionless 27-year-old. Today, as well as taking the Bar Vocational Course, he is chairman of the National Centre for Domestic Violence, a ground-breaking organisation that he dragged into existence after a friend could not get legal help to protect her from an abusive partner.

    Connor’s route to the Bar has been circuitous. In 2001 he returned from a year in Australia (he says that he would not dignify describing it as a gap year), and took a job as a process server in South London. The job (“I just saw it advertised in the paper”) was not quite as dull as it sounds. On one occasion he was threatened with a machete, on another, he was nearly stabbed by a man he had arranged to meet on Clapham Common to serve with a non-molestation order: “He’d seemed really friendly on the phone…”

    The turning point in his life came when a friend, who was being abused by her partner, turned to him for support. Connor went with her to the police. She did not want to press criminal charges so the police suggested that she visit a solicitor to take out a civil injunction. “We must have seen 12 solicitors in a morning. We just went from one to the next to the next to the next. Everyone was very eager to help until we sat down to fill in the forms for the legal aid means test,” he says. The woman, who had a small child, did not qualify for public funding. But, Connor says, her financial situation as it appeared on paper did not bear any relation to her financial situation in reality. “She had a part-time job and she and her partner owned their home. Yet she didn’t have any money. Her boyfriend was very controlling and controlled all the money; he kept the chequebooks and didn’t let her have access to the bank account.”

    The injustice of the situation got under Connor’s skin. “I just couldn’t believe that there was no help available to people who did not qualify for public funds but could not afford to pay.

    I just kept feeling that this must be able to be sorted if only someone would address it.”That “someone” turned out to be him.

    In 2002, thanks entirely to Connor’s doggedness, the London Centre for Domestic Violence was formed. It started out with him and a friend, but is now a national organisation, covering 27 counties, and has helped approximately 10,000 victims last year to take out injunctions against their partners.

    NCDV now has nine full-time staff, 12 permanent volunteers and has trained over 5000 law and other students as McKenzie Friends to accompany unrepresented victims into court. We have also trained over 8000 police officers in civil remedies available regarding domestic violence. The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) has branches in London, Guildford and Manchester and is on track to have branches in 16 areas within the next two years.

    NCDV specialises exclusively in domestic violence work and could be characterised as a cross between McDonald’s and Claims Direct. The high degree of specialisation means that its processes are streamlined: clients can be seen quickly and the work is done speedily and cheaply. “Sometimes, we will have one of our trained McKenzie Friends at a court doing 10 applications in one day,” Connor says.

    Clients are not charged for the service. NCDV staff take an initial statement: clients who qualify for legal aid are referred to a local firm; those that don’t get free help from the centre itself. It runs on a shoestring, heavily reliant on volunteers and capping staff salaries at £18,000 a year.

    Steve expects to qualify as a barrister this summer and hopes that having a formal legal qualification will give the centre added clout. “We are already acknowledged as experts and consulted at a high level, so I thought it would be helpful if I could back that up by being able to say I’m a barrister,” he says. He is just about to complete a one-year full-time BVC course at the City Law School (formerly the Inns of Court Law School) and, all being well, should be called to the Bar in July. Although Connor sees his long-term future as a barrister, he says that he has no immediate plans to practise. “I want to get NCDV running on a fully national level. Then I may take a step back and have a career at the Bar.”