Skip to information using the below links:
- What is this type of image-based abuse?
- What does the law say?
- What can you do to stop this from happening?
- What if your pictures were posted online?
- Where can you get help and support?
If you’ve shared sexual or intimate pictures/videos with someone privately, they shouldn’t share them with anyone else. If they do this is a form of image-based abuse. Those pictures are private and this should be respected. Just because we share pictures with one person it doesn’t mean we’re happy for everyone else to see them.
However, sometimes pictures do get shared around, and this can have all kinds of impacts on the person in the picture. They might be embarrassed or made to feel ashamed, there might be comments made about how they look, their body, their genitals. Or things might be said about what they’re like, or sexual things they’ve supposedly done with other people. Or their pictures might be altered or photoshopped.
If adults (like parents, carers, teachers) find out about it, hopefully they’ll be supportive and help the young person – but if not that can make things more difficult too. Young people are often told to be careful with their images and not to put themselves at risk, but this can sometimes make you feel like it’s your fault if your pictures are shared on. The person who shared your image without consent is responsible.
The law says it is an offence to disclose (show or give to someone else) an intimate/sexual photo or film or to threaten to do so, without the consent of the person/people in the photo or film.
The law also says you can’t take, share or possess an ?indecent’ (eg. nude) image of anyone under the age of 18.
You should never share someone else’s nude picture/video. If you see or get sent a picture like this of someone else, don’t share it and don’t comment on it if it’s on social media.
If you’re going to get an adult to help, do so straight away.
You should also try and speak up and let people know you don’t think it’s OK to share other people’s photographs.
It can be really upsetting to come across private images of yourself online.
The first thing you should do is take screenshots and save them. You should also note down where you saw them and if you can, get the URL. The URL is what you see in the top bar of the internet browser you are using. In the below example, the URL is google.co.uk.
You can try and report the images to the website where you saw them – most sites have community guidelines and ways to report images that shouldn’t have been posted. ThinkUKnow has a useful website with information about how to report images on most social media platforms, if you’re not sure how to do this.
The Not Yours to Share website has information and example ‘cases’ you can interact with to learn more about image-based abuse.
It’s also really important to talk about what has happened to trusted friends and family. It can be really upsetting and having support around you can help.
Childline has the Report Remove service for under 18’s who have found private images of themselves online. This service allows you to report images so Childline and The Internet Watch Foundation will work to get them removed.
Remember, that if this has happened to you, you’re not to blame and you didn’t ask for it to happen.