top of page


Having, sharing or selling adult pornography is, as a general rule, not illegal. However, some pornography is illegal and possessing, making or distributing it are serious offences.

Possessing means having the image as a file on a mobile phone or computer, a printed/hard-copy, or a computer created/manipulated image. A file that's been deleted may also count.

Extreme pornography

It's illegal to possess 'extreme pornographic images'. This is material that's 'grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise obscene', and that 'explicitly and realistically' shows:

  • life threatening injury

  • serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals

  • bestiality (a sexual act with an animal)

  • necrophilia (a sexual act with a human corpse)

  • rape or assault by penetration

Visit the CPS for more information.

Indecent images of children

It's illegal to possess, make or distribute indecent images and videos of children (someone under the age of 18). This is a form of child abuse.

'Making’ an indecent image doesn't just mean a person taking a photo or video. It can also mean a person downloading or printing an indecent image, or opening an email attachment containing an indecent image. An indecent image is:

  • pornographic or sexually provocative

  • grossly offensive or obscene

  • focussing on, or mainly on, the child’s genitals or anal region

Visit the CPS for more information.

Report it

If you're concerned about any images or videos you've seen on the internet or you're sent obscene material, please get in touch in any of these other ways:

If you suspect someone is in immediate danger, call 999 now. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.

  • Call our non-emergency, 24/7 number: 101. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service on 18001 101.

  • Report it online to us as soon as possible.

  • Visit a police station to speak to an officer in person.

  • Contact Crimestoppers confidentially and anonymously.

  • Report it to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) or the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) who'll investigate and try to close any offending websites down.

What to do with offensive material you've received

  • Don't print or email it, not even to send it to the police. This will be seen as distribution which is a crime.

  • Don't delete the images as they may be needed as evidence.

  • Let your Internet Service Provider know, as well as block the sender's email address/social media accounts.

  • If you keep getting 'pop up' windows taking you to similar links, disable cookies in your browser. Cookies hold information about your internet use, making it easy for similar types of emails or links to be sent.

Further advice Stop It Now! Providing help and support if you're worried about someone else's illegal or harmful online behaviour. Confidential helpline: 0808 1000 900 Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) Provides advice and support to improve internet safety and protect children. Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) A law enforcement agency helping to keep children and young people safe from sexual abuse and grooming online. The Marie Collins Foundation Helping children and their families to recover if you've suffered abuse online or through mobile technology. NSPCC A charity working to protect children and prevent abuse. Get Safe Online Free advice on how to stay safe online and protect your internet-connected devices.

bottom of page