Indecent images of children and young people

Last updated: 06 Feb 2018 Topics: Working with our partners Safeguarding children Type: News article

A campaign, targeted at young men aged 18 to 24, aims to inform them that viewing, sharing, making and distributing indecent images of under-18s is illegal.

This national campaign, led by HM Government, the Marie Collins Foundation and the Internet Watch Foundation, is seeking to tackle the growing problem of sexual exploitation online. 

The aims of the campaign are to:

  • raise young men’s awareness of the law relating to sexual online content of under-18s
  • help all online users act responsibly and prevent harm to others
  • encourage internet users not to take the risk when viewing anything they are uncertain about
  • report any image or video that concerns them to the Internet Watch Foundation

Educating young people

The campaign's designed to help stop sexual images and videos of children appearing online and ensuring young people make socially responsible choices on the internet. It highlights that it's not always possible to judge accurately the age of a person in a picture or video. 

Significant efforts are underway to rid the web of indecent images of children and to catch perpetrators. However, the harm caused to the children who are the subject of these images continues.

Through its work with survivors, the Marie Collins Foundation understands the damage caused. It was established to support victims and their families to recover from online abuse.

Tink Palmer, Marie Collins Foundation chief executive, said:

“These are not victimless crimes. Behind every picture is a child who’s being abused or coerced into doing something at the hands of an adult. Once online, the pictures can be shared globally within seconds. The harm caused by that can last a lifetime.”

Marie Collins, after whom the charity is named and a surviver of abuse, said:

"My abuser didn’t use force or threats, he just made me feel very stupid. He laughed at me for resisting. I went along with what he wanted because I was a child and really felt I had no choice.

"Of course, years later I realised the differential in power between adults and children but at the time I didn't understand any of that. I do remember to this day, although it’s a lifetime ago, how I felt being photographed, how humiliated and how physically sick I felt.”

Further information

Anyone who comes across indecent images where they believe the subject may be under 18 is encouraged to report them to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

For more guidance regarding indecent images of children and young people, visit HM Government website and the Marie Collins Foundation website.

Get involved on social media

Use the hashtags #NoIfsNoButs and #KnowTheLaw and spread the message across social media. 

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