Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) is classified as objectionable content in New Zealand. This page provides information about what CSAM is, the New Zealand legislation surrounding it and what action should be taken if a person finds this type of content.

If you discover CSAM content, you should report it to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) immediately.

What is CSAM?

Child sexual abuse material or CSAM is the permanent recording of the sexual abuse or exploitation of a child or young person under the age of 17. This can include images, video or live streamed content. It’s important to note that this material shows actual abuse and crime scenes. Real children are being abused and there is nothing virtual about their suffering.

The term “child pornography/porn” is sometimes used to refer to CSAM. Netsafe and many other agencies use the term Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) because it better reflects what this content represents and the seriousness with which this content should be considered.

Is CSAM illegal in New Zealand?

Yes, in New Zealand, CSAM is considered objectionable content. The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 deems a publication to be objectionable if it promotes or supports, or tends to promote or support the exploitation of children, or young persons, or both, for sexual purposes (section 3(2)(a)).

Possession of objectionable content is a serious offence and can be punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years, or a fine of up to $50,000. Distributing objectionable content carries a maximum term of imprisonment of up to 14 years. Distributing includes making the content available for other people to access, such as on a website or through file sharing.

If you discover CSAM content, you should report it to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) immediately. The DIA takes reports of CSAM content created or hosted in New Zealand or anywhere else around the world. The DIA will work with appropriate law enforcement globally to manage the report.

Report to DIA

 

If you are unsure of whether to report content, contact Netsafe for confidential advice.

Accidental and unsolicited exposure to CSAM

If you discover CSAM content, you should report it to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) immediately.

You still need to report it if you have accidentally discovered the content, or if it has been sent or shown to you. This is the case even if you did not request it. If it is discovered that you have been in possession of this content and did not report it to the DIA immediately you may still be liable for prosecution – even if the access was accidental or unsolicited and you deleted it or navigated away from it immediately. Reporting the content immediately upon discovering it may offer you some protections from prosecution.

It is important that you do not on-send CSAM content to another person under any circumstance. Even if you are reaching out to someone for advice about what to do with the content, do not send the content to another person. You will then be “distributing” the content, and the person you are sending it to would be in “possession” of the content. If you have done this already you should report this immediately to the DIA and encourage the other person to do the same.

If you’re unsure if the person in the content you have seen is underage, you should still report it. There are age verification specialists in this field who are able to analyse the content. If the content includes a child that you know, you should also report this to the DIA who will work with local law enforcement to act to protect the victims of abuse.

Every picture or video of CSAM might contain a clue that will rescue a child from abuse. Don’t click away, if you see it, don’t ignore it – report it.

If you have any questions about reporting CSAM, Netsafe can provide free and confidential advice.

You can contact Netsafe’s helpline by:

Accidental or unsolicited exposure to CSAM can be a very upsetting experience. If you need help or support after reporting the content, you can contact Safe to Talk for specialist help.

Contact Safe to Talk free 24 hours a day by calling 0800 044 334 or visit safetotalk.nz

If you or someone you know is accessing CSAM

If you or someone you know is accessing CSAM or may be about to access CSAM, you should contact Safe to Talk for advice. Safe to Talk is a free and confidential help service that can provide specialist advice and refer you to the appropriate support depending on your situation.

Contact Safe to Talk free 24 hours a day by calling 0800 044 334 or visit safetotalk.nz

If you suspect someone is creating CSAM

If you suspect that someone you know is creating CSAM material, you should contact the Police immediately.

If you’ve been a victim of CSAM

If you or someone you know has been involved in producing CSAM content as an underage person, you can contact the Police or Safe to Talk for specialist advice and to discuss the options available to you. Safe to Talk is a free and confidential sexual harm help service that can provide you with specialist advice.

Contact Safe to Talk free 24 hours a day by calling 0800 044 334 or visit safetotalk.nz

Advertisements for CSAM

If you see an advertisement for CSAM, do not click on the link or access the material. Report the advertisement to Netsafe or to the DIA immediately. In your report please include a URL to the advertisement and a URL of the website hosting the advertisement.

The law around teens creating and sharing nude/sexual content

We know that some young people send nude or nearly nude content of themselves to other young people.

Under New Zealand law, people under the age of 17 who create this content of themselves are technically in possession of objectionable material. If they send this content to another person, it is technically distributing objectionable material, whether the other person requested it or not. If the person they are sending it to is underage, they are technically supplying objectionable material to a minor. It is important that young people understand that on-sharing nude images/video of someone under the age of 17 is distributing CSAM in the eyes of the law. This includes the on-sharing of nudes of another person who is underage, regardless of whether the content was initially shared consensually by the person in the image/video.

Law enforcement agencies are most concerned with people who are knowingly creating, in possession of, or distributing CSAM. However, this does not mean that others do not run the risk of breaking the law. Agencies are likely to take into account the nature of a consensual relationship between people under the age of 17 when they consider prosecution.

What if a young person is being “groomed” to send sexual content?

Grooming is when an adult tries to build a relationship with a young person so that they can sexually exploit them in some way. This doesn’t always have to be physical – sometimes they are trying to get nude or nearly nude images or videos of the young person or have a sexual conversation with them.  We have specific information and advice about online grooming for both young people and for parents.

 More information

If you’re unsure about reporting CSAM or anything else about CSAM, you can contact Netsafe for free and confidential advice.

Safe to Talk

Safe to Talk has trained specialists to assist with issues related to sexual harm and can offer free and confidential advice. Contact Safe to Talk free 24 hours a day by calling 0800 044 334 or visit safetotalk.nz

Department of Internet Affairs (DIA)

The DIA has more information about objectionable and restricted material on their website. You can report CSAM content to the Department of Internal Affairs using their online form.