Legislation on child sexual abuse material
The Danish legislation on sexual assault and digital sex offenses is in accordance with EU legislation.
Age - when are you a child?
Children are defined as persons under age 18. At the same time, the age of consent is 15, meaning that young people aged 15, 16, and 17 have the right to be sexually active while at the same time still being protected by legislation (e.g., in relation to being exploited in pornography or prostitution).
Young people aged 15, 16, and 17 are free to record and share nude pictures with their boy- or girlfriend, but the pictures become illegal if they are shared on the Internet.
Sections of the Criminal Code on child sexual abuse material
- 226. Anyone who records sexual material, including photographs, videos, etc. of a person under age 18 with the intention of selling or otherwise disseminating the material is punished by a fine or imprisonment for up to 6 years.
- 227 par. 1. Whoever contributes to a person under age 18 taking part in a performance with sexual activity is punished by a fine or imprisonment for up to 6 years.
- 235, par. 1. Whoever distributes sexual material, including photographs or videos, other visual representations, or the like, of persons under age 18, is punished with a fine or imprisonment for up to 2 years, or in particularly aggravating circumstances with imprisonment for up to 6 years. Particularly aggravating circumstances are considered to be cases where the child’s life is in danger, where aggravated violence is used, where serious harm is caused to the child, or where there is dissemination of a more systematic or organized nature.
- 235, par. 2. Anyone who possesses or for remuneration or through the Internet or a similar system for the dissemination of information becomes familiar with sexual material, including photographs or videos, other visual representations, or the like, of persons under age 18, shall be punished by a fine or imprisonment for up to 1 year.
Par. 3. The provision in par. 2 does not include possession of photographs, videos, etc. of a person aged 15 or older, if the person concerned consents to the possession.
Legislation pertaining to grooming
”Online-grooming" refers to situations where an adult creates contact with a child via the Internet in a manipulative manner and develops a friendship with a view to entering into sexual relations.
There is no specific law or provision against grooming in Denmark, but several people have been convicted of attempted abuse with reference to Sections 21 and 222 of the Criminal Code, which also describe the grooming process using the words: “exploiting one’s physical or psychological superiority.”
- 21. Actions which aim to promote or effect the execution of a crime are punished, when this is not carried out, as an attempt.
- 222. Anyone who has intercourse with a child under age 15 is punished with imprisonment for up to 8 years, unless the relationship is covered by section 216, par. 2. (which states that the sexual abuse of children under age 12 is always defined as rape).
Par. 2. If the perpetrator procured sexual intercourse by exploiting their physical or psychological superiority through the use of coercion or making threats, the penalty may increase to imprisonment for up to 12 years.
Par. 3. When determining the penalty according to par. 1, it must be included as an aggravating circumstance that the perpetrator procured intercourse by exploiting their physical or psychological superiority.
- 216, par. 2 states that the sexual abuse of children under age 12 is always defined as rape.
- 223, par. 2 is also relevant in matters of grooming:
- Anyone who has intercourse with a person under age 18, who is the offender’s adopted child, stepchild, or foster child, or is entrusted to the person in question for teaching or upbringing, shall be punished with imprisonment for up to 4 years.
Par. 2. The same penalty applies to anyone who, under the gross abuse of superiority resulting from age and experience, seduces a person under age 18 into sexual intercourse.
- The provisions in sections 216‒224 apply correspondingly with regard to sexual relations other than intercourse.
Finally, section 232 on indecent assault may be relevant in situations where the offender writes, sends, or shows pornographic material against the child’s will.
- Anyone who violates modesty or causes public outrage by immoral relations.