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The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 made it an offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to possess “extreme pornographic images”. This is pornographic material that is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise obscene, and that explicitly and realistically depicts:

  • life threatening injury
  • serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals
  • bestiality
  • necrophilia

In Scotland, the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 also made it an offence to possess extreme pornographic images. However the Scottish offence went further than the Westminster legislation in that it applied to images depicting rape or other non-consensual penetrative sexual activity. This material is sometimes referred to as “rape pornography”.

After criticism from women’s groups and academics, the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 amended the 2008 Act so that, as in Scotland, it is now an offence to possess “rape pornography”.

Documents to download

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