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When nudes get shared around

Non-consensual nude image sharing.

Non-consensual nude image sharing

Non-consensual nude image sharing is when nudes are shared without the consent (permission) of the person in the image.  Sometimes nudes get shared around in group chats. Or even more widely than that - on social media or public websites.

People share nude (naked or semi-naked) images and videos for a number of reasons. Whatever the reason someone sent a nude, and whoever it was sent to, they probably assumed it would be kept private.

What to do if your nude is being shared around

  • Get help. There are lots of things that can be done to help the situation (like getting the nude taken down) and many places you can go to for help.
  • Don’t blame yourself for anything that’s happened. It’s never your fault if a nude of you is being shared around. It’s only the fault of the person who is sending it around without your consent.
  • Ask people to delete it. If the nude has only been shared with a small group of people, you might feel comfortable asking them to delete it from their devices. It’s illegal for them to have or share nude images of under 18s.
  • Remember the law is there to protect young people. Nudes of under 18s are illegal, but the police do not want to take action against young people who have shared a nude of themselves with the consent of the person they sent it to.

What to do if someone else's nude is being shared around

  • Get help. Even if the image is not of you, you can go to adults and support services to help that person.  
  • Don’t judge the person in the image. It’s likely they didn’t expect anyone else to see the image. It’s also not fair to make jokes or unkind comments about them. They probably didn’t intend to harm or upset anyone by taking or sending it.
  • Never show the nude to anyone else. Even if you’re thinking about sending it on because it’s shocking, don’t. Every time a nude is shared, it causes more harm to the person in the image.  
  • Offer emotional support to the person in the image. Support from friends will be crucial in helping them get through a really difficult time. 

The impact of non-consensual nude image sharing

It is devastating to have a nude shared with people who weren’t meant to see it.

It can cause serious long-term harm to:

  • Confidence
  • Self-esteem
  • Physical and emotional health
  • Friendships and relationships

Someone who has had their nude shared around may find it hard to keep coming to school or concentrate on their studies. They might miss out on the education opportunities and results they deserve.

If you know someone who has had a nude shared around, they may seem to laugh or shrug it off. Whilst they may act like everything is ok, they will probably be experiencing some of these impacts.

Nudes being shared around doesn’t just impact the person in the image. Anyone who shares a nude of an under 18 could face legal action because it is a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Getting help when nudes get shared around

  • Social media platforms. Report the nude image(s) and any abusive comments to the app/website. Social networks don’t allow nude images of under 18s and should take them down straight away. Read our reporting on social media sites article for more information.
  • Report it to CEOP. If the person in the image is under 18, CEOP will work with professionals, which includes other police agencies, to help keep the young person in the image safe.
  • Report Remove. Tell the person in the image they can use Childline and IWF’s Report Remove tool. This helps under 18s report a nude image or video that has been shared online, to see if it is possible to get it removed.
  • Trusted adults. There are plenty of adults who want to support you. Speak to someone (like a family member or teacher) who you know and trust. If the first adult you speak to isn’t helpful, it’s ok to try talking to someone else. If you or a friend would rather get advice confidentially, you can speak to a counsellor at Childline.

Report Remove

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In an emergency

If you're ever in immediate harm or danger: 

  • Call the police on 999 straight away
  • Tell an adult you trust who will be able to support you through a difficult time

Talk to someone

Childline logo

Free, confidential support online and over the phone for young people under 19.

www.childline.org.uk

Call 0800 1111

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The Mix is a charity that provides free information and support for under 25s.

www.themix.org.uk

Use their crisis messenger by texting THEMIX to 85258.

See all help

Sending nudes

Nudes

Things to consider if someone has asked you for a nude or you've already sent one.