Possession of indecent photograph of child/ Indecent photographs of children

Criminal Justice Act 1988, s.160, Protection of Children Act 1978 (section 1)
Effective from: 01 April 2014

Triable either way

Maximum: 5 years’ custody

Offence range: Community order – 3 years’ custody

 

Triable either way

Maximum: 10 years’ custody

Offence range: Community order – 9 years’ custody

For section 1 offences committed on or after 3 December 2012, this is an offence listed in Part 1 of Schedule 15B for the purposes of section 224A (life sentence for second listed offence) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

For convictions on or after 3 December 2012 (irrespective of the date of commission of the offence), these are specified offences for the purposes of section 226A (extended sentence for certain violent or sexual offences) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

User guide for this offence


Step 1 – Determining the offence category

The court should determine the offence category using the table below.

  Possession Distribution [1] Production [2]
Category A Possession of images involving penetrative sexual activity. Possession of images involving sexual activity with an animal or sadism. Sharing images involving penetrative sexual activity. Sharing images involving sexual activity with an animal or sadism. Creating images involving penetrative sexual activity. Creating images involving sexual activity with an animal or sadism.
Category B Possession of images involving non-penetrative sexual activity. Sharing of images involving non-penetrative sexual activity. Creating images involving non-penetrative sexual activity.
Category C Possession of other indecent images not falling within categories A or B. Sharing of other indecent images not falling within categories A or B. Creating other indecent images not falling within categories A or B.

  [1] Distribution includes possession with a view to distributing or sharing images. [2] Production includes the taking or making of any image at source, for instance the original image. Making an image by simple downloading should be treated as possession for the purposes of sentencing.  

In most cases the intrinsic character of the most serious of the offending images will initially determine the appropriate category. If, however, the most serious images are unrepresentative of the offender’s conduct a lower category may be appropriate. A lower category will not, however, be appropriate if the offender has produced or taken (for example photographed) images of higher category.