Get the facts

These pages aim to tell you more information for the UK about:

  • what the law says about online sexual behaviour involving children
  • the criminal justice system, from arrest to possible imprisonment
  • potential consequences of offending to you and your family

You need to ensure that you understand the law, so that you know what is right and wrong (even if you believe otherwise) and that you understand that being caught by the police will come with many consequences, not just the possibility of going to prison.

Indecent images of children

The term ‘indecent images of a children’ means a sexual image of anyone under the age of 18. It includes:

  • nude or partially clothed children
  • children sexually posing
  • self-generated images by children (‘selfies’)
  • images depicting children engaging in both penetrative and non-penetrative sexual activity

This definition applies to still images, videos and pseudo-photographs (an image that appears to be a photograph and that may have been created by a computer).

‘Indecent images of children’ is the legal term for these types of images, and this website will also refer to ‘sexual images of children’.

To understand more – try our self-help module Images are children.

Sexual communication with a child

The term ‘sexual communication with a child’ refers to an adult intentionally communicating with someone under the age of 16 for the purposes of sexual gratification.

The section on UK law will provide more information about these different behaviours, and other associated illegal online sexual behaviour.

To understand more – try our self-help module Sexual communication with children online.

Talk to us if you need support

The experienced advisors on our confidential helpline can support you with any worries. We can support you if you want to discuss anything covered in this module, have struggled when working through it, or want to go through the information with a practitioner to guide you.

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