Guide to Reporting CSAM

Instructions on reporting abusive images and videos of children

Encountering child sexual abuse material (better known as child pornography) can be harrowing. However, it can also be an opportunity to reduce the prevalence of such content, prevent the revictimization of abuse survivors, and help law enforcement identify and investigate abuse. This guide is intended to help you report CSAM if you encounter it and help you find additional support if the experience is impacting your mental health.

1. Make sure the content is reportable

False reports to groups that investigate and document CSAM waste valuable resources that would be better spent addressing actual cases of child abuse. Use the following rules to determine whether the content in question needs to be reported. Never share CSAM or suspected CSAM with others, even to ask them to report it, as this is illegal.

  • Always report content that contains one or more real minors engaged in sexual activities.

  • Never report a drawing or 3D render, unless you have reason to believe a real child was abused in its creation. Reports of drawn and rendered content clog up processing queues and make it harder for actual cases of child abuse to be identified and investigated.

  • If someone sends you a link to what they claim is CSAM, report it without clicking.

  • Not all potential CSAM will fall neatly into one of these categories, so you may have to use common sense and the information available to determine whether the content should be reported. As a general rule, if there is evidence that a real minor is being abused, report the content.

If you determine that the content needs to be reported, continue to the next step.

2. Report the content to the platform where you encountered it

Bringing the content to the attention of the platform hosting it allows their moderation team to investigate and remove it. Different platforms have different procedures for reporting CSAM. This page contains more detailed instructions for reporting CSAM to internet platforms.

3. Report the content to law enforcement

Many countries maintain internet hotlines where people can report CSAM. These reports are shared with law enforcement agencies and other groups that can investigate and take action. You can find your country's hotline using INHOPE's Hotline Referral tool.

4. Focus on your mental health

It's not uncommon for people who have been exposed to CSAM to experience negative thoughts and emotions in the months following the exposure. For most people, these will go away over time, however, if they last for a long period of time or begin to interfere with your life, you should consider seeking professional support.

In addition, some people may experience intrusive thoughts about the possibility of being a pedophile or child sexual abuser after being exposed to CSAM. Remember that encountering this content does not make you a pedophile or increase your likelihood of being an abuser. However, if you do experience attractions to minors, you may benefit from these resources (be aware that many support groups prohibit admissions of viewing CSAM to protect members) and our blog.

Some MAPs (and some non-MAPs) struggle with an addiction to CSAM. If this is you, you are not alone and there is support available. The therapy resources listed here may be useful, but you should always reach out anonymously to potential therapists to ensure you won't be reported to the police if you admit to viewing CSAM.