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Crime prevention Hertfordshire
What the law says
Sexting can be seen as harmless, but creating or sharing explicit images of a child is illegal, even if the person doing it is a child.*

A young person is breaking the law if they:
  • Take an explicit photo or video of themselves or a friend
  • Share an explicit image or video of a child, even if it is shared between children of the same age
  • Possess, download or store an image or video of a child, even if the child gave their permission for it to be created
From January 2016, in England and Wales, if a young person is found creating or sharing images, the police can choose to record that a crime has been committed.  However, formal action is not likely to be in the public's interest.

* child in this context refers to anyone under the age of 18 years old
1 in 6 of those reported to police for indecent images are aged under 18.
Furthermore, the total number of offences reported nationally has significantly increased from 4,350 in 2013 to 10,818 in 2015.
More than 2,000 children were among those reported to police for indecent image offences over the past 3 years.

NSPCC, https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/news-opinion/1-6-reported-police-child-sexual-images-under-18/, 2016

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