There is #NoSuchThing as child pornography. There is only child sexual abuse.

Published:  Fri 1 Nov 2019

Every day at the Internet Watch Foundation we see the victims of this abuse. These are not holiday pictures, or snapshots of children doing innocent, mundane activities. These are records of the most depraved and haunting aspects of our society, as adults torture, rape and abuse the most innocent for their own sexual gratification. 

This abuse cannot be trivialised. Each year the problem grows, as more and more children are revictimized and the number of known images and videos of this abuse steadily rises. 

By using the terms ‘child pornography’ or ‘child porn’, media outlets are relating this abuse to pornography – a commercialised industry in which adults’ consent to being filmed and are paid for their work. But children cannot consent to their own abuse. Nor for it to be distributed across the globe, traded amongst paedophile groups and accessible to billions of internet users.   

Today, the IWF is launching a campaign to address the use of language. Currently, the use of these terms is widespread by both the public and the media; over the past four weeks we’ve spotted the use of these terms in Britain’s biggest publications, including The Metro, The Daily Mail and The Sun. 

The language used in papers trickles down into everyday use. It frames the conversations we have, the way we think and how we see the world. These outlets reach millions of people across the UK – they can be found in towns, cities and villages, on kitchen tables and hotel lobbies. And in all these arenas, they are reinforcing the idea that child sexual abuse can be consensual. They are diminishing the crime and perpetuating this abuse. 

What can we do? 

The IWF, alongside Embrace and the Marie Collins Foundation, are calling for:

  • An amendment to section 7 of the Editor’s Code of Practice to ensure the appropriate language and tone is used by editors across the media. 
  • The updating of style guides to maintain the highest standards of professional journalism and help protect the victims of the abhorrent crime of child sexual abuse. 

What can you do?

We can do so much more together.

  • Spread the word. Share our campaign content across digital and social channels - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.
  • Take action. Ensure that this terminology is not used in any of your own communications. 

Find out more about the campaign here

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