#NoSuchThing as child pornography. Only child sexual abuse.


A campaign, launched by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), is calling for media outlets to stop using the phrase ‘child pornography’ and instead call it what it is: child sexual abuse imagery and videos.

‘Child pornography’ implies consent, yet children cannot be complicit in their own abuse. The use of inappropriate and inaccurate language to describe the images associated with the crime of child sexual abuse has the potential to dilute the perception of these crimes and minimise perpetrator accountability. 

The correct terminology - ‘child sexual abuse images’ or ‘child sexual abuse videos’ - accurately reflects the gravity of the issue and clearly identifies that crimes have been perpetrated against victims.

The BBFC supports this campaign. When content is submitted for classification that tackles the issue of child sexual abuse, or deals with the issue of child sexual abuse images, those are the terms we use in the ratings info that we issue. Full ratings info for every film classified can be found on our website and app. 

Material featuring genuine child sexual abuse is very rarely encountered by the BBFC. However, where potentially illegal images that involve children are noted in content submitted for classification, the BBFC will require their removal and take legal advice where necessary. 

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. 

Find out more about the campaign, and how you can support it on the IWF website