Sexting and the law

In the 1970’s a law was created to stop adults from having pictures of children (anyone under 18) who are naked or who were being abused, these images are called child abuse images. 

Lots has changed since the 1970’s including technology but this is still a law. That means anyone, who takes, sends, shares or possess any image of someone under the age of 18 who is naked, semi-naked or is naked is breaking the law.

For example, if your child is 16 takes an image of themselves in their underwear and sends it to their boyfriend or girlfriend they are breaking the law. Their boyfriend or girlfriend would be breaking the law too as they now have a photo of someone under the age of 18 in their underwear.  If their boyfriend or girlfriend then sends the photo to his or her friends they have also broken the law as they now have a copy of the image too. You can see how this can easily get out of hand.

Whilst it is illegal the police will always help young people and safeguard them in the first instance if they are involved in any types of sexting. If a young person sends an image and it all goes wrong we would always advise them to speak to an adult they trust straight away.

It’s also helpful for you to know that your child’s school and college have powers to deal with incidents of sexting. Schools have powers to deal with some incidents of sexting without involving the police but there are some cases where they have to report it to the police and/or other agencies if they are concerned, but they will be able to help you and your child.


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