You always need consent to share sexual material of other people
There’s nothing wrong with taking and sending a sexual photo of yourself or others if everyone involved wants to. But there’s a certain risk involved so it’s important that you trust everyone involved. It is illegal for anyone to record, share, or publish sexual material of you without your permission. The same applies if someone threatens to do these things or pressures you to do them. It is also a crime if someone sends you a sexual photo of themselves without your permission.
This is usually called digital sexual abuse because most often digital devices are used, such as the internet and smartphones. But the same applies to film photographs or other material that is not digital. Sometimes this is also called “revenge porn” or image-based sexual abuse but the legal term is a violation of sexual privacy.
People who experience digital sexual abuse can feel very upset, humiliated, ashamed, and worried. Experiencing digital sexual abuse can have just as severe consequences as sexual abuse in the real world.
Some examples of digital abuse can be if your partner or someone else:
- sends you unsolicited sexual photos, videos, or messages
- takes sexual pictures or videos of you without permission
- shares sexual material of you on websites or with others, for example a photo, video, audio recording, or message
- shares counterfeit sexual material of you
- pressures you to send them nude photos or videos of yourself
- threatens to circulate sexual material of you
It is also illegal to forward sexual material of other people if you don’t know whether the person has given permission. Even if you are able to send the picture, you shouldn’t do it.
Can teenagers send nude photos of themselves?
It is OK for teenagers aged 15-18 to send sexual material of themselves to others of a similar age and maturity level – if everyone involved consents and trusts each other. There is still always a risk that accompanies sharing a sexual photo with others.
It is always illegal to send a sexual photo to someone who didn’t ask for it, for example a dick pic.
Children cannot give consent and it is always illegal when adults (over 18) make sexual materials involving children (under 18) or send them sexual material.
Here is advice for children and teenagers who experience harassment online.
It is always better to tell someone if you have experienced abuse, no matter how long ago it was. You can contact Stígamót an organisation that helps people 18 years and older who have experienced sexual abuse. Children and teenagers under 20 can get advice on the webchat Sjúkt spjall.