Child Pornography Laws

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For research, see Research: Child Pornography

Child Pornography refers to pornographic or "indecent" depictions of children.


The exact definition of "child pornography" is the subject of much debate, particularly in courts. The legal definition varies across jurisdictions, however most countries prohibit photographs depicting minors engaged in sexual activity. Many jurisdictions, notably Canada, also prohibit non-photographic pornographic media featuring children, including computer-generated images, texts, and even audio recordings. In many countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, nudist depictions of children are generally prohibited.

America and other jurisdictions

You may want to check Wikipedia for a frequently updated list.


Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

In the Australian Capital Territory, Australia, it is an offence to produce, publish, offer, sell, or possess child pornography. Child pornography is defined as "anything that represents":

(a) the sexual parts of a child; or
(b) a child engaged in an activity of a sexual nature; or
(c) someone else engaged in an activity of a sexual nature in the presence of a child;

substantially for the sexual arousal or sexual gratification of someone other than the child.

A representation includes a "film, photograph, drawing, audiotape, videotape, computer game, the internet or anything else."

It is also illegal to - using electronic means - "suggest to a young person that the young person commit or take part in, or watch someone else committing or taking part in, an act of a sexual nature." An "act of a sexual nature" is defined as "sexual intercourse or an act of indecency."


In Queensland, Australia, it is illegal to produce, sell, distribute, advertise or possess a "child abuse" photograph, publication or film. It is also illegal to produce, publish, make, or print a "prohibited publication".

A person must also not have possession of - or make - an "objectionable film" for the purpose of sale.




In Victoria, Australia, it is illegal to possess an item which "depict[s] a person who is or appears to be under [16] years of age engaged in sexual activity or in an indecent context or manner". Defences against such charges include:

1) item was classified; or
2) item was for medical/legal/scientific/educational purposes; or
3) item had artistic merit - this defence is unavailable if the child was actually under sixteen (16) years; or
4) defendant believed on reasonable grounds that the child was sixteen (16) years or over, or was the defendant's spouse; or
5) defendant was not more than 2 years older than the child was or appeared to be at the time of offence; or
6) child depicted was the defendant.

It is also illegal to produce, sell, exhibit, deliver, or possess "indecent or offensive material in which a child (whether engaged in sexual activity or not) is depicted or described in a way that is likely to cause serious and general offence amongst reasonable adult members of the community". The definition of "material" includes:

a. any written or printed material; or
b. any picture, painting or drawing; or
c. any carving sculpture, statue of figure; or
d. any photograph, film, video tape or other object from which an image may be reproduced; or
e. any computer data or the computer record or system containing the data; or
f. any other material or object on which an image or representation is recorded or from which an image or representation may be reproduced.

Procuring or inviting a minor to be involved in the production of child pornography is also an offence.

Western Australia

(1) A person who —

(a) with intent to sell or supply the child pornography or the copy to another, possesses or copies child pornography; or
(b) sells or supplies, or offers to sell or supply, to another, child pornography,

is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

(2) A person who publishes —

(a) anything likely to be understood as conveying that the person publishes or supplies child pornography; or
(b) an advertisement for child pornography,

is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

(3) A person who displays, exhibits or demonstrates child pornography is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

(4) A person who possesses or copies child pornography is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

"Child pornography" is defined as "an article that describes or depicts, in a manner that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or who looks like, a child under 16 years of age (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not)".


In Canada, it is illegal to make, print, publish, distribute, sell, import, or possess any material which - for a sexual purpose - depicts a child under the age of 18. Material which has an "artistic, educational, scientific or medical purpose" is not prohibited; Robin Sharpe successfully used this defence in relation to "pornographic" texts depicting children.

The definition of "material" is not limited to specific media, meaning that audio recordings, texts and cartoons are illegal if they depict a child for a sexual purpose.

United Kingdom

See Indecent images of children and Prohibited images of children.

In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to take, make, distribute, show, or possess indecent images of children. An indecent image of a child is a photograph or pseudo-photograph (including one comprised in a film) which shows a child and is indecent.[1]

See also