Q & A

  • 'Indecent' images of under 18s are illegal. What counts as 'indecent'?

    No one has defined ‘indecent’ but basically if it’s naked, a topless girl, contains genitals or sex acts, including masturbation, then it will be indecent. It is illegal to take, possess or share 'indecent images’ of anyone under 18 even if you're the person in the picture. Remember - if you wouldn’t show it to your parents or your gran, you probably shouldn’t share it online!

    Find out more about the risks of sharing naked images and how to stay safe here.

  • My boyfriend is 19. I’m 15. We have sex. Could he go to jail?

    The age of consent in the UK is 16 years old, and sex with someone under the age of consent is illegal. So in this case, yes it is illegal for a 19-year-old to have sex with someone under 16.

    Further information about why sex between adults and young people is against the law is available here.

  • I’m 14 and my boyfriend/girlfriend is 15. By having sex together are we breaking the law?

    Sex between anyone who is under 16 is illegal. This is to protect young people from sexual exploitation and abuse. The important thing to think about however, is whether you are ready for sex.

    You can find useful advice about being ready for sex here and further information about sex and relationships on the Brookwebsite.

    Sex or any sexual activity between an adult and a young person aged under 16 is against the law in the UK and the adult will be held responsible for their actions. This applies to both men and women, whether they are of the same or the opposite sex of the young person and no matter what their cultural background is.

    Further information about why sex between adults and young people is against the law is available here.

  • What is consent?

    Consent is when a person freely gives their permission or agrees to something, after having carefully thought about whether or not they want to do it. This decision should have been made without that person being: pressured or bullied, encouraged to use drugs or alcohol to influence their decision, or manipulated or made to feel stupid.

    In the UK the law says that both people must give their consent before any physical closeness or sexual activity. This means that if you want to have sex, you should always make sure that your partner wants to as well.

    The law also says that to consent to sex a person must be over 16 and have the ability to make informed decisions for themselves.

    It is always a crime to have sexual activity with somebody without their consent. If someone does not feel free to make a choice (e.g. because they were pressured or threatened) then they have not consented, even if they don’t say no.

    Learn more about sex and the law here.

  • At what age can I have sex?

    The age you can have sex is called ‘the age of consent’. In the UK it is 16 years old. This means that according to the law, only those who are aged 16 or over are able to freely agree to any sexual activity, in full understanding of the consequences of having sex. This applies if you want to have sex with someone of the opposite sex, or the same sex.

    You can find useful advice about being ready for sex here and further information about sex and relationships on the Brook website.