No ‘grey area’
Many people who have engaged in online sexual behaviour involving children believe that there is a ‘grey area’, between what is legal and illegal.
There is no grey area.
- Non-sexual images of children
If you are viewing any image of a child for sexual gratification, regardless of whether the child is nude, semi-nude or clothed, then this is not appropriate. The police may investigate the possession of multiple images of clothed children.
- Nude images of children on naturist websites
If you are viewing any image of a child for sexual gratification, then this is not appropriate. If the naturist images are showing nude children in a sexualised manner, then this is illegal.
- Uncertainty about a child’s age
If you are unsure whether it’s an adult or child in an image or video, or that you’re communicating with, do not continue.
There is no ‘grey area’ here. If there is any doubt, stop. The law is clear.
- The legal age of consent is 16
Whilst this is true and you can legally have a sexual relationship with a 16 year old, the legal age for a person to be in a sexual image is 18. This includes viewing sexual images, or requesting images or webcam activity during an online communication.
Regardless of your opinion about this and regardless of whether you understood this to be the case in the past, you now know, so stick to the law.
- The images are legal in their country of origin
Different countries have different laws around what age a person has to be to be shown in a sexual image or engage in sexual behaviour. However, it is still illegal to engage in this online sexual behaviour in the UK.
- Sexual drawings/Manga
Sexual drawings of children are also illegal in the UK. Manga is a style of drawing for comic books and novels, which originates from Japan. There are many Manga drawings depicting children in sexual situations. These are illegal to view in the UK.
- I’m not a UK citizen
Any online sexual behaviour involving children from within the UK, is illegal, regardless of where you are from.
Please watch the following film to get an idea of some of the justifications that people use to allow themselves to continue offending online.