Is it considered child sexual abuse if someone shows a child pornographic pictures but doesn’t actually touch the child?
Dear Stop It Now!,
Is it considered child sexual abuse if someone shows a child pornographic pictures, but doesn’t actually touch the child? Doesn't a child need to be physically molested in order for it to be considered child sex abuse?*
Dear Concerned Adult,
Showing pornographic pictures to a child is considered sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse can include non-touching behaviors.
Purposely exposing a child to adult sexuality is considered a form of child sexual abuse, whether or not a child is touched. Non-touching behaviors can be just as upsetting and emotionally harmful to a child as some touching behaviors. Non-touching behaviors that are considered to be child sexual abuse include:
- Showing pornography to a child.
- Exposing a person's genitals to a child, or asking children to expose themselves.
- Asking a child to interact sexually with someone else.
- Online enticement of a minor for sexual purposes.
- Photographing a child in sexual poses.
- Exposing a child to sexual acts (including masturbation) either in person or through digital, computer or video images.
- Watching a child undress or use the bathroom, often without the child's knowledge (known as voyeurism or being a "Peeping Tom").
Please note that although there may not be harmful intent, even having adult pornography or sexual toys in the home where a child could come across them has been viewed by authorities as sexual abuse in some circumstances. For complete information, see our definitions of child pornography.
Stop It Now!
Last edited on: August 13th, 2018