5 April 2018

Coming soon: Is she legal?

YMCA Newcastle is about to launch the MENtoring project in an effort to change the attitudes that young men have towards images and videos of underage individuals, thanks to funding from the Home Office.

The law is confusing when it comes to young people, the age of consent and pornography. Many young people think that because they’re legally allowed to have sex from the age of 16 that they’re also allowed to make, share and look at sexual content involving 16 year olds. But thats wrong.

Making, sharing or looking at sexual content of anyone under the age of 18 is illegal. So if you’ve ever viewed a sexual image of someone under the age of 18, even if you were just looking at an image you were sent or viewed it on a well known website, you’ve broken the law.

“Me looking at an image of someone underage isn’t hurting anyone.”

“I can’t do anything to stop images of underage girls being seen online.”

“It’s your own fault if indecent images of yourself end up online.”

These are all common misconceptions when it comes to images and videos of underage individuals, usually young girls, being shared online. Knowing that strangers are viewing images of you that were supposed to be private between you and a partner can have a long lasting effect on someones health and wellbeing.

We have trained a team of young MENtors that will be visiting local organisations, colleges and clubs to engage with young men aged 18-24. At these sessions our MENtors will advise young men how to safely navigate online, what to do if they do come across sexual content of someone they suspect is underage and challenge their attitudes towards sexual content involving under 18’s.

If you’re an organisation, college, sixth form, team or club that would like to get involved please contact us at 0191 2765327 or enquiries@ymcanewcastle.com.