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What does the law say about pornography?

What does the law say about pornography?

In England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, it’s legal to look at or buy most pornography when you’re over 18. 

But some particular types of pornography are not legal. If you’re using pornography, it’s important to know the law so you don’t:

  • get in trouble with the police
  • harm yourself
  • harm others 

Here are some things it’s illegal for anyone to do:

  • Take, view, download or share sexual pictures or videos of people under 18.
    These are often called “indecent images of children”. They include:
    • real-life photos or videos
    • cartoons (like types of manga that show children in a sexual way)
    • computer-generated drawings
  • It is also illegal to have, take, copy or share pictures or videos of: 
  • extreme violence 
  • rape 
  • necrophilia (sex with dead people) 
  • bestiality (sex with animals)  
  • Be over 18 and show pornography to someone who’s under 16, for your own sexual excitement.

Check out our page on Sex and the law to find out more

Sex and the law

Find out what the law says about sex and what this means for you.

Read more

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