Get help

If you are concerned about your behavior and want to change it, contact a professional at Taktu skrefið. Full confidentiality ensured.

By reading this, you have taken a step in the right direction. We can help you understand both the causes and consequences of inappropriate sexual behavior online and suggest resources to help intervene. The information here is based on the website Stop it now, a British organization helping prevent sexual child abuse.

  • Maybe you have not done anything illegal yet, but you are worried about your online behaviour.
  • Maybe you have already stopped looking at sexual images of children or stopped having online sexual conversations with those under 18.
  • Maybe you are under investigation by the police for online sexual offences or maybe nobody knows about your worrisome behaviour online.

We’re here to help you. Just like making any change, there will be times when you feel on top of things, and times when it feels confusing and difficult. That is to be expected, and we suggest you take one step at a time.

People truly have the ability to change and they have made the change. That means you also can get on the right path and the information provided will assist you in staying on the right path.

Legal facts

You need to ensure that you understand the law so that you know what is right and wrong - even if you believe otherwise. You should understand that being caught by the police will come with many consequences, not just the possibility of going to prison.

Indecent images of children

The term "indecent images of children" means a sexual image of anyone under the age of 18. It includes:

  • Nude or partially clothed children.
  • Children sexually posing.
  • Images showing children, either in penetrative or non-penetrative sexual activity

This definition applies to still images, videos and fake-photographs (an image that appears to be a photograph but was created by a computer).

No "grey area"

Many people who have engaged in online sexual behaviour involving children believe that there is a "grey area", between legal and illegal. There is no grey area.

  • Non-sexual images of children
    If you view any image of a child for sexual gratification, regardless of whether the child is nude, semi-nude or clothed, then it is not appropriate. The police may investigate the possession of multiple images of clothed children.
  • Nude images of children on naturist websites
    If you are viewing any image of a child for sexual gratification, then this is not appropriate. If the naturist images are showing nude children in a sexualised manner, then this is illegal.
  • Uncertainty about somebodies age
    If you are unsure whether it is an adult or child in an image or video, or that you are communicating with, do not continue. There is no ‘grey area’ here. If there is any doubt, stop. The law is clear.
  • Age difference
    If you are engaging in sexually explicit communication with someone much younger than you that has not reached 18 years of age, the power imbalance is such that the child's consent is not taken as valid. This sort of communication is illegal.
  • The legal age is 18
    The legal age for a person to be in a sexual image is 18. This includes viewing sexual images or requesting images or webcam activity during online communication. The only exception to this is a child 15 years or older can take pictures of themselves and show them.
  • Images from another country
    Different countries have different laws around what age a person has to be shown in a sexual image or sexual behaviour. However, it is still illegal to engage in this online sexual behaviour in Iceland.
  • I am not an Icelandic citizen
    Any online sexual behaviour involving children from within Iceland is illegal, regardless of where you are from.

People justify their illegal behaviour

Watch the following film to get an idea of some of the justifications that people use to allow themselves to continue offending online.

Do you have a problem?

Some people say that their viewing of illegal images is like addiction that is hard to stop.


Many people who commit internet offences believe that they will never be caught – but this is not true. Police all over the country are running operations to specifically catch people who offend online, and it could be you next.

Many people who offend online think that their only consequence will be involved with the police and the worst-case scenario is going to prison. But there are many more consequences, and conviction affects your access to your children, your relationship, your finances and your job.

Criminal justice system

The main consequence of offending online is involvement with the police and criminal justice system.

  • First contact with the authorities
    Typically, this is likely to be the police knocking on your door.
  • Seizing of equipment
    During this initial visit, the police will probably search your property and gather up all electronic devices (like mobile phones, computers, laptops, tablets, cameras, hard drives, usb-sticks and electronics used for work). The police will take them to the police station for further analysis, which may take a long time. Any devices found with evidence of illegal activity will not be returned.
  • Arrest
    After the police has searched your home, you will be arrested and taken to the police station where you will be interviewed. You have the right to have an attorney present. After the interview, you probably will be released but need to return at a later time for another interview. A few weeks or months can pass. It all depends on the investigation progress. It is recommended that you use this time to begin to address and stop your offending behaviour if you have not already done so.
  • Case closing
    The case can end in two ways:

    1. No further action
    If the police do not find any evidence, or if they feel that there is not enough evidence to charge you on, no further action will be taken.

    2. Charged guilty
    If your case has probable evidence you will be charged with offences. You will need to go to court. If you are found guilty you could get either a suspended or a custodial sentence. You could also need to pay compensation.

Child Protection Services

The Child protection services (Barnavernd) in your area will become involved if you are being investigated for offences relating to children and:

  • You have children under 18.
  • There are any other children you have access to within your family or your social circles.

Why will Child Protection Services be involved?

Child Protection Services become involved because they see you as a risk to all children, including your own. Child Protection Services do not know you – all they know is that you have been engaging in sexual behaviour online involving children.

In their eyes, this means you are potentially capable of committing a contact offence against a child. If this is not the case, then it is going to take a long time to prove otherwise.

What will happen?

When you are arrested, you will need to provide details of children you have regular contact with and Child Protection Services will need to assess your risk to them.

Child Protection Services may set their own restrictions that you need to comply with. These might include:

  • No unsupervised contact with your children
  • Moving out of the family home, if children live there.

If you are convicted, Child Protection Services needs to assess your risk factor against other children. They may ask parents to do some specific work to address risk factors (such as treatment programmes for offenders or protective parenting work for parents). The outcome of Children’s Services assessments will vary depending on individual risks and circumstances.

Taktu skrefið helps people who are concerned about their sexual behaviour.

Consequences on your life and relationships

If people think about possible consequences to their offending, they might think about arrest and jail but might not consider what would happen to their relationships and other parts of life.

Your relationships may break

How will your partner, children or parents fell if they find out you have been engaging in illegal online sexual behaviour? What opinion are they going to have about you? Will they still love you? Will they still want to have contact with you?

Some individuals in your situation are lucky as they have family members and friends who want to support them through this. Others are not so lucky.

Nobody can predict how a person is going to react. Do you want to take this risk or do you want to get help now?

You might be in the media

There is a chance that your case will be written about in the media. This is never guaranteed, but it can also never be avoided or controlled. You need to be aware that it’s a possibility and think about what effect it will have on you, your children, your partner and the rest of your family.


You need to be aware that your offending will not only affect your job but possibly your families’ jobs too.

Working with children

If your job involves a lot of contact with children, for example, if you are a school teacher or a doctor, you will have to leave your job immediately. During your initial interview with the police, they will ask you about your occupation and if necessary, you will be asked to resign. It may also be required that the police disclose your offending behaviour to your employer.

Not working with children

If you are being investigated by the police, then you need to check your employment contract. Some contracts will state that you need to disclose to your employer if you have any involvement with the authorities with regard to criminal behaviour. If this is the case, you need to do so, otherwise further down the line when you are convicted, your employer will find out and you will likely be dismissed.

Telling your employer about your offending does not automatically mean that you will lose your job. Some employers will allow you to continue working. Nevertheless, you need to be prepared to be asked to leave.

Trying to find a job in the future

If you are convicted of online sexual offences related to children, you are going to experience some barriers with regard to work. There will be some jobs that you would not even be able to interview for; mainly anything involving children or vulnerable adults. Also, you will face difficulties if you want to teach adults.

When you apply for certain jobs, they ask you to state whether you have any spent or unspent convictions. You can be prosecuted if you fail to disclose spent convictions

Other consequences

Some people report negative impacts on their life a long time before they are caught by the authorities.

  • Is your illegal behaviour online starting to affect your relationship with your partner? Both, sexually and emotionally?
  • Are the empty and negative feelings you experience after going online causing you to become grumpy and short-tempered with the people in your life?
  • Are the long hours you spend online each night affecting your ability to succeed at work because you are so tired?

If you are being investigated for internet sexual offences

Your first steps to getting the right support and advice if you are being investigated for internet sexual offences

What causes this behaviour?

You may want to try to understand why and how you started this behavior. It could be a combination of many factors in your life, including regular use of adult pornography. It could be linked to difficult life experiences from childhood. It could also be due to regular sexual thoughts or inappropriate feelings for a certain child or children. Discussing these things can be a challenge. For some people, the reasons are not clear. Understanding the behavior is the first step in making positive changes.

Your behaviour may be more complex

Your sexual behaviour on the internet might not necessarily be all related to children. Some people develop other sexual behaviour problems, such as accessing extreme adult pornography. This is also illegal. Some people feel they are addicted to pornography they access online. They need appropriate support if they are to take control of their online behaviour and stop any illegal activity.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Some people who view sexual images of children on the Internet are struggling with a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder that involves obsessive and aggressive sexual thoughts about children. These people are not sexually aroused by these thoughts, but they cause them extreme distress and anxiety.

If this sounds like it might be true for you, we suggest you speak to your doctor. The content on this site does not apply to those with OCD. Read more about OCD.

What should you do now?

The first thing you should do is to contact Taktu Skrefið, an organisations that helps people who are worried about their sexual behaviour or have abused someone sexually. You can send them an email at They reply as soon as possible, at least within a week.

If you are not comfortable sending an email you can also contact emergency wards anonymously through the 112 web chat.


Taktu skrefið

Taktu skrefið (Take the step) is a group of psychologists that help people that are worried about their sexual behaviour or have sexually abused someone.


Heimilisfriður offers therapy for people who have abused someone in a close relationship.


The Red Cross Helpline 1717 is a phone service and webchat for those who need someone to talk to in confidentiality. They are open 24 hours, and it's free to call.

Preventing sexual abuse

Sex must be built on respect and good communication where both parties’ desires are respected. Respecting the boundaries of others is fundamental in healthy relations.