Stop online child sexual abuse

We all want to do the right thing online. Here’s how.

Sexual images or videos of under 18s are illegal. It doesn’t matter how old the person looks, this is the law. No ifs, no buts.

You can be prosecuted for taking, making, sharing and possessing sexual images of under 18s, even if you thought that they looked older.

Read more about the law and what these terms mean.


Reporting images and videos

It’s easier than you think to encounter sexual content of under 18s online.

If you find sexual images or videos of under 18s, do the right thing and report them to the Internet Watch Foundation.

Reporting only takes a few minutes and is completely anonymous.

Image showing selected statistics about indecent images

Did you know?

22% do not agree that the children in indecent images are harmed by the experience.

11% do not think it is illegal to download, view or share indecent images of a child under 16.

76% would report an indecent image of a child online.

(Percentage of men aged 18-24)

Get it right

You may feel confident that you could tell if someone in an image was under 18.

Watch this video to see how easy it is to get it wrong.

What’s the harm?

Looking at sexual images online isn’t a victimless crime.

Knowing that their images could be viewed at any time causes more distress to the victims of online child sexual abuse.

Watch these videos to see how.

The law is clear – if you are caught looking at sexual images of under 18s, you could be arrested, prosecuted and placed on the sex offenders register.

Watch this video to hear how one man’s life has been affected by viewing sexual videos of under 18s.

Professionals interested in protecting children

Download the supporter pack, created in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation and the Marie Collins Foundation, for background information and simple ways you can get involved.


If you have been affected by indecent images

Get more information and support from:

  • Internet Watch Foundation – an independent charity that aims to help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online sexual imagery of under 18s, with an anonymous hotline for public reporting.
  • Marie Collins Foundation – a charity enabling children who suffer sexual abuse and exploitation via internet and mobile technologies to recover and live safe, fulfilling lives.
  • National Crime Agency CEOP – a command of the NCA working with child protection partners across the UK to identify and eradicate threats to children.
  • Samaritans – a suicide prevention charity with a 24-hour confidential helpline.
  • NSPCC – a charity working to protect children and prevent abuse.
  • Stop It Now! – a child abuse prevention campaign and anonymous helpline for individuals worried about their own sexual thoughts or behaviour towards children or that of others.

If you have any suspicion or concerns that a child may be at risk, always contact the police. If a child is in immediate danger, dial 999 and ask to speak to the police.

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