Legislation about child sexual abuse material

Danish legislation uses the term 'child pornography' to describe child sexual abuse material. The legislation on child sexual abuse material, sexual abuse and digital sexual abuse and assault follows the EU legislation.

Age – how old is a child?

Children are defined as persons under age 18.

In addition the age of sexual consent is 15. It means that young persons aged 15, 16 and 17 have a right to a sex life while, at the same time, they are protected by the law, for instance regarding being exploited in prostitution or as porn models.

Young people aged 15‒17 may consent to their girlfriend or boyfriend recording pornographic images, but the images become illegal if they are spread on the Internet.

Overview of Danish legislation on child pornography

  • It is illegal to search for child pornography on the Internet.
  • Child pornography is defined as images and film depicting children involved in sexual activities, in sexual poses or where a child’s genitals are in focus.
  • The law on child pornography does not include images and movies with children that have been instructed to pose erotically in front of a camera as long as the material does not show or focus on the child’s genitals.
  • Fictional material is not illegal in Denmark unless it is impossible to distinguish from realistic photographs

Sections on child pornography

Section 235. Anyone who distributes pornographic photographs or films, other pornographic visual representations or the like of persons under age 18 shall be fined or imprisoned for up to 2 years or under particularly aggravating circumstances imprisonment up to 6 years. Particularly aggravating circumstances include cases where the child’s life is endangered, where serious violence is involved, where the child is seriously injured or where there is talk of distribution of a more systematic or organized character.

Section 235(2). Anyone who possesses or for payment or through the Internet (or a similar system for dissemination of information) becomes aware of pornographic photographs or films, other pornographic visual reproductions or similar recordings of persons under 18 years of age is to be fined or imprisoned for up to 1 year.

Section 235(3) The provision in 235(2) does not include the possession of photographs, movies or the like of a person aged 15 years or older if the person in question consents.

The law on grooming

The concept online-grooming is used in situations where an adult creates contact to a child via the Internet in a manipulative manner and develops a friendship to engage in sexual relations.

In Denmark there is no actual law or provision against grooming, but several individuals have been convicted on the basis of section 21 of the criminal code:

In Denmark there is no actual law or provision against grooming. However, several individuals have been convicted for attempted abuse with regard to sections 21 and 221 of the criminal code which describes the grooming process thus: taking advantage of one's physical and mental superiority.

Section 21. Acts that are aimed to promote or accomplish an offense shall when the offense is not completed be punished as an attempt.

Section 222. A person who has sexual intercourse with a child under 15 is punished with imprisonment for 8 years or less, except if the relationship is covered by section 226 (2)*

(2) If the perpetrator has exploited his or her physical or mental superiority by means of coercion or threats to have sexual intercourse, the punishment may be increased to imprisonment of up to 12 years.

(3) By establishing punishment according to (1) it must be considered an aggravating circumstance that the perpetrator has engaged in sexual intercourse by exploiting 
his or her physical or mental superiority .
*Section 216 (2) states that sexual abuse against children under the age of 12 always be defined as rape.

Section 223(2) is also relevant in cases involving grooming:

Section 223. Any person who has intercourse with a person under 18 years of age who is the perpetrator’s stepchild or foster child, or with whose education or upbringing the offender has been entrusted, is sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding four years.

Section 223(2). The same penalty is imposed on any person who seduces a person under 18 years of age into sexual abuse by grossly exploiting his superior age and experience.

Section 225. Provisions in section 216 - 224 is also used regarding other sexual relations than intercourse.

Finally, Section 232, pertaining to indecent exposure, can be relevant in situations in which the perpetrator writes, sends or shows pornographic materials against the child’s will. Section 232. Any person who commits an act of indecency.

The age of sexual consent

Section 222. Any person who has sexual intercourse with a child under 15 years of age is sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 8 years.

Section 222(2) If the child has been under 12 years of age or if the offender engaged in sexual intercourse by exploiting his or her physical or mental superiority using coercion or threats, the punishment may increase to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 years.

Section 224. The provisions of sections 216‒223 apply to sexual activity other than sexual intercourse.

Section 225. The provisions of sections 216‒220 and 222‒223 apply to sexual activity with a person of the same gender.

Partners

Save the Children Denmark’s AnmeldDet (ReportIt) hotline is co-financed by the European Commission and is part of INHOPE, a global network of hotlines fighting child sexual abuse material on the Internet.